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Full text of "Fatal revenge; or, The family of Montorio. : A romance."

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FATAL REVENGE 

OR, 

THE FAMILY OF MONTOx.. . 
a laomancc, 

BY DENNIS JASPER MURPHY 

IN THREE VOLUMES, 



JLCCIAN, ^^TuTXOTlZvTti, 

I wished not merely to see cities and vcods as one can see them in maps; 

^ut merif &nd vhat they do, and vbat they say. 



VOL. I. 



LONDON 

PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HU 
PATEBNOST 



18C 



printed by C> Sttver Paternoster Row; 



v.l 



PREFACE 



The present style of novels is most 
piteouslv bewailed by those who are, 
or say they are, well affected to the 
cause of literature. Didvoleriey tales 
Jit to frighten tlie nursery, German 
horrors, are the best language they 
give us. Whatever literary articles 
have been imported in the plague ship 
of German letters, I heartily w^ish 
were pronounced contraband by com- 
petent inspectors. But I really con- 
ceive that the present subjects of 
novels and romances, are calculate I 
a 2 ta 



IV PREFACE. 

to unlock evciy store of fancy and of 
feeling. 1 question whether there be 
a source of emotion in the whole 
mental frame, so powerful or uni- 
versal as the fear arising from ob- 
jects of inulsihle terror. Perhaps 
there is no other that has been at some 
period or other of life, the predomi- 
nant and indelible sensation of every 
mind, of every class, and under every 
circumstance. Love, supposed to be 
the most general of passions^ has cer- 
tainly been felt in its purity by very 
few, and by some not at all, even in 
its most indefinite and simple state. 

The same might be said, a fortiori, 
of other passions. But who is there 
that has never feared ? Who is there 
that has not involuntarily remember- 
ed the gossip's tale in solitude or in 
darkness? Who is there that has not 

sometimes 



PREFACE. V 

sometimes shivered under an influence 
he would scarce acknowledge to him- 
self. I might trace this passion to a 
high and obvious source. 

It is enough for my purpose to 
assert its existence and prevalency, 
which will scarcely be disputed by 
those w^ho remember it. It is ab- 
surd to depreciate this passion, and 
deride its influence. It is not the 
weak and trivial impulse of the nur- 
sery, to be forgotten and scorned by 
manhood. It is the aspiration of a 
spirit; "it is the passion of immortals," 
that dread and desire of their final 
habitation. 

The abuse of the influence of this 
passion by vulgar and unhallowed 
hands, is no argument against its 
use. The magic book has indeed 

often 



VI PREFACE. 



often been borne by a rude ignorant, 
like William of Deloraine, journeying 
from the abbey of Melrose with his 
wizard treasure. The wand and robe 
of Prospero have often been snatch- 
ed by Caliban ; but, in a master's 
hand, gracious Heaven! what won- 
ders might it work ! 

1 have read novels, ghost-stories, 
where the spirit has become so inti- 
mate with flesh and blood, and so 
affable, that 1 protest I have almost 
expected it, and some of its human 
interlocutors, like the conspirators in 
Mr. Bayes's play, to *' take out their 
snuff-boxes and feague it avray." 
Such writers have certainly made ri- 
diculous what Shakespeare has con- 
sidered and treated as awful. 

Such have occasioned the outcry 



against 



PREFACE. Vll 



against converting the theatre of lite- 
rature into a phantasmagoria, and sub- 
stituting the figures of a German 
magic lanthorn, for those forms which 
are visible to *' the eye in a Jine fren- 
zy rolling,'' But pace tantorwn 
viroruWy I have presumed to found ^ 
the interest of a Romance on the pas- 
sion of supernatural fear, and on that 
almost alone. It is pitiful to depre- 
cate deserved and inevitable censure; 
every work must ha\e faults, and the 
Review^ers are heartily welcome to 
mine. I am not insensible of praise, 
nor inaccessible, 1 hope, to animad- 
version. If youth, in acquaintance 
with literary habits, and the ** original 
sin" of national dulness, be any mi- 
tigation of severity, critical y or eclec- 
tic, or of the cold and hitter blasts 

of 



VllI PREFACE. 

of the north) let this serve to informrv 
my Readers, that I am four and twen* 
ty, that I never had literary friend or 
counsellor, and that I am an Irishman 
of the name of 

Dennis Jasper Murphy. 



Dublin, 
December \b J 1806. 



INTRO- 



INTRODUCTION, 



At the siege of Barcelona by the 
French, in the year 1O97, two young 
officers entered into the service at its 
most hot and critical period. Their 
appearance excited some surprise and 
perplexity. Their melancholy was 
Spanish, their accent Italian, their 
names and habits French. 

They distinguished themselves in 
the service, by a kind of careless and 
desperate courage, that appeared 
equally insensible of praise or of dan- 
ger. They forced themselves intoa 
b all 



INTROD-UCTION. 



all the coup de mains, the wild and 
perilous sallies that abound in a spi- 
rited siege, and mark it with a grea- 
ter variety and vivacity of character, 
than a regular campaign. Here they 
were in their element. But among 
their brother officers, so cold, so dist- 
ant, so repulsive, that even they who 
loved their courage, or were interested 
by their melancholy, stood aloof in 
awkward and hesitating sympathy. 
Still, though they would not accept 
the offices of the benevolence their 
appearance inspired^ they were invo- 
luntarily, always conciliating. Their 
figures and motions were so eminently 
noble and striking, their affection for 
each other so conspicuous, and their 
youthful melancholy so deep and 
hopeless, that every one inquired, and 
sought intelligence of them from an 

impulse 



INTRaDUCTIOy. XI 

impulse stronger than curiosity. No- 
thing could be learnt; nothing was 
known, or even conjectured of them. 

During the siege, an Italian officer, 
of middle age, arrived to assume the 
command of a post of distinction. 
His first meeting with these young 
men was remarkable. They stood 
speechless and staring at each other 
for some time. In the mixture of 
emotions that passed over their coun- 
tenances, no one predominant or de- 
cisive could be traced by the many 
and anxious witnesses that surrounded 
them. 

As soon as they separated, the 
Italian officer was persecuted with 
inquiries about the strangers. He 
answered none of them ; yet he ad- 
mitted that he knew circumstances 
sufficiently extraordinary relating to 
b 2 tke 



Xn INTRODUCTION. 



the young men, who, be said, were 
natives of Italy. 

A few days after> Barcelona was 
taken by the French forces. The as- 
sault was terrible ; the young officers 
were in the very rage of the fight ; 
they coveted and courted danger; 
they stood amid showers of grape 
and ball ; they rushed into the heart 
and crater of explosions ; they lite- 
rally '* wrought in the fire." The 
effects of their dreadful courage were 
foreseen by all, and cries of recal 
and expostulation sounded around 
them on every side, in vain. 

On the French taking possession of 
the town, there was a general de- 
mand for the brothers. With diffi- 
culty the bodies were discovered, and 
brought with melancholy pomp into 
the commander's presence. The Ita- 
lian 



INTRODUCTION. XI] 1 

lian officer was there ; every eye was 
turned on him. 

There was an appeal in the general 
silence. The Italian felt and answer- 
ed it. ^' No circumstances but these,'* 
said he, *Mn which I see those brave, 
unhappy men, wouldjustify me in the 
disclosure I am about to make. I am 
acquainted with their name, and their 
countrv, and their misfortunes. The 
discovery cannot affect tliein now. 
TheysLYG for ever beyond the reach of 
shame or pain ; but for the living, 
who are not beyond instruction, the 
tale is intended, and to them may it 
prove useful.'* At intervals which 
its length required, he related the 
following story. 



FATAL 



FATAL REVENGE ; 

OR, 

THE FAMILY OF MONTORIQ. 
CHAP. I. 

Sacva Pelopis domus. Horace. 
*• Pelops' cruel offspring.'* 

About the year 1690, the family of 
Montorio, one of the most distinguished 
in Italy, occupied their hereditary seat, 
in the vicinity of Naples. To the tale 
of the strange fortunes of this family, it 
may be necessary to prefix a sketch of 
its character. 

It was marked by wild and uncommon 
features, such as rarely occur in those of 
more temperate climates. But in a coun- 

vQL. I. B try 



2 FATAL REVENGE ,* OR, 

try, like the seat of these adventures, 
where climate and scenery have almost as 
much effect on the human mind, as habit 
and education, the wonder dissolves, and 
the most striking exhibition of moral 
phenomena present only the reflected 
consequences of the natural. 

The general idea of the Italian cha- 
racter was fully realized in that of the 
Montorio family; weak, yet obstinate; 
credulous, but mistrustful; inflamed with 
wild wishes to attain the secrets and com- 
munion of another world, yet sunk in 
the depth of both national and local super- 
stition. Their palaces were haunted by 
groups of monks, and magicians, and 
alchymists, and astrologers; and amid the 
most superstitious state of the country of 
superstition, the House of Montorio was 
distinguished by weak and gloomy cre- 
dulity. The character and habits of the 
present Count were, like those of his pre- 
decessors, singular. In the early part of 

his 



TilE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 3 

his life, he had unexpectedly succeeded 
to his ancestorial wealth and honours, by 
the sudden death of their possessor and 
all his family. Shocked by such a con- 
cun'cnce of domestic calamity, the Count 
had precipitately quitted his castle, nor 
could he, till after a considerable time, 
prevail on himself to quit Apulia, and 
revisit it. When at length he returned, 
it was visible that the blow, which his 
spirits had sustained, was irrecoverable. 
He returned^ accompanied by his Count- 
ess, his children, and a numerous retinue 
of attendants, and from that moment, the 
sight or sound of cheerfulness was banished 
from the walls of Muralto. The aged do- 
mestics, who had resided there in their 
lord's absence, and to whom that absence 
had felt like their own exile, now saw 
with sorrow, that the change his return 
had produced was almost for the worse. 
The habits of the castle and its present 
possessor, recalled to their memory the 
B 2 former 



4 FATAL revenge; OR, 

former master, and the festivity of hap- 
pier days, threw a deeper shade over the 
stately gloom of the present. Of their 
former lord, they were lavish in commen- 
dation; and as it is the nature of enthu- 
siasm to remember only the virtues of the 
object it delights to praise, while they 
celebrated the excellences and graces of 
his character, they forgot that he had 
been jealous, violent, and vindictive, even 
beyond Italian irritability; that his credu- 
lity was without bounds, his rage without 
restraint^ and his vengeance without re- 
morse. The many graces however of his 
person and mind, and the melancholy fate 
of a man who had suddenly died amid the 
most exquisite sensibility and enjoyment 
of domestic delights, drew a shade over 
the memory of his failings, and those who 
remembered him, remembered him only 
as the master whose eye poured forth 
benignity, and whose hand was lavish of 
bounty. 

To 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. O 

To the remembrance of such days and 
characters, the present afforded a striking 
contrast. The Count, dark, silent, soli- 
tary, repelled all approach, retreated 
from all attachment ; and when his at- 
tendants raised their eyes to his, it was 
said they sav/ an expression there which 
made them withdraw them, under an im- 
pulse of terror, intuitive and inexpress- 
ible. The temper of a master, however 
ungenial, soon pervades his household. 
The servants glided through the apart- 
ments with steps that seemed to dread their 
own echo ; orders were communicated m 
whispers, and executed in silence; and 
the bells that summoned its inmates to 
rest or to relisfion, were almost the onlv 
sounds heard within its w^alls. Sometimes 
this calm was suddenly and strangely bro- 
ken, and the Count, attended by his con- 
fessor, would often summon the family to 
attend him at midnight to the chapel, where 
t'.iey remained engaged in solemn and se- 
vere 



D FATAL revenge; OR^ 

vere acts of religion till morning; and 
often^ under still more terrible agitations 
of mind, he would hurry the Countess and 
his family from their rest^ and compel them 
to accompany him by night to Naples, 
from whence, after a short residence, he 
would return to his castle, to silence and 
to solitude. A conduct so extraordinary 
excited many comments ; but the recent 
misfortunes, and known character of the 
family, were a sufficient answer to these, 
and curiosity soon grew weary of a sub- 
ject that furnished nothing to gratify in- 
quiry. Besides, the Count had now arriv- 
ed at that period of life when a man is 
chiefly represented by his children ; when 
the stronger features of a character are 
dimmed by the distance of retirement and 
rest — when declining ambition reposes 
itself amongst those for whom it has toiled, 
and the hopes and views of society are 
transferred to its young successors. 



Of 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. / 

Of the Count's numerous family^ four 
sons, and four daughters, still survived. 
All of them partook of the peculiarities 
which marked their house, the two elder 
sons eminently. Amid the family group, 
the bold and original figure of the Count- 
ess stood alone. Her beauty still un- 
touched by time, her mind unimpaired 
by the weakness of her sex or country, sife 
yet seemed to share the dark despondency 
of her husband. But while the source and 
degree of their secret suffering appeared 
the same, their modes of sustaining it were 
strikingly different. His, was the gloom 
of a mind bowed by affliction; — hei-s, of 
a mind resolved to malle affliction bow to 
it. He, was wild, dejected, and unequal; 
— she, calm, collected, and silent. But 
her calmness was evidently that of subdued 
pain; it was the calmness of one, who, 
stretched upon the rack, suffers not a 
groan to escape him. In the lower circles 
of domestic duty, she moved with a care- 
less 



8 FAfAL KEViiNGis; OTt, 

less absence^, which was neither the absence 
of indolence nor of affectation; it was the 
abstraction of a mind obviously capable of 
higher occupations, and from which the 
discharge of common duties neither re- 
quired an effort, nor a suspension of its 
inward and peculiar operations. She per- 
formed the severest ofiiccs of religion, 
which her superstitious husband exacted 
from her, with the steady patience of one 
who submits to a remedy, but who expects 
not relief — with her children she took no 
comfort ; from her husband she sought 
no counsel : Vv^hatever were her secret 
trials, she seemed bent to bear them, un- 
aided, unallied, and alone. She presented 
the image of a great mind sinking under 
calamity, but sinking without complaint 
or weakness, like Ca?sar falling at the base 
of Pompey's statue, but covering his face 
as he fclh 

Of her children, her daughters appeared 
the most beloved, and of her sons, the two 

younger. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 9 

younger, though the elder were confeBS- 
edly more the favourites of nature as well 
as of society. At Naples, the elder, the 
beautiful and dissipated Ippolito, was the 
delight of every assembly, the soul of eveiy 
pleasure. Driven from retirement, from 
the gloom of the castle and its inmates, 
entitled by his rank to mingle in the first 
assemblies, and indulged by his father with 
a splendid establishment, Ippolito, plung- 
ing into all the voluptuous madness of 
Naples, seemed resolved to indemnify 
himself for the short restraint of his early 
Years. All the rich assemblag^e of imaoerv 
that youth, talents, and sensibility can 
present, and flattery raagnify and embel- 
lish, Ippolito sought to realize in his bril- 
liant and tumultuous career. Thus the 
flame of genius, which should have be^n 
fed by close and inward cultivation, was 
wasted in wild and eccentric blazes, and 
society, with heedless selfishness, exhausted 
the powers in whose display it delighted. 
B 5 Had 



10 FATAL revenge; OB, 

Had this young man been instructed, 
either by nature or by habit, in the con- 
duct of his imagination, or the conquest 
of his passions, his being would have 
answered some better purpose than the 
delight of dissipation, or the example of 
a moral tale. Ippolito resembled his mo- 
ther in the graces of a person which re- 
vived the finished forms of classic anti- 
quity : — a face, warm with the rich tints 
of Italian beauty, a dark-brown complex- 
ion, over which the glow of conversation 
or of sentiment, the hurry of motion or of 
accident, spread a speaking crimson ;— eyes, 
whose lustre, sometimes softened, some- 
times deepened, as his dark locks were 
parted, or permitted to cluster over them, 
spoke sensibility in every change — fea- 
tures, over which the very soul of ex- 
pression hovered, in a thousand charms, 
mingled and mutable. Such was the form, 
that enclosed a mind bold, ardent, credu- 
lous, and volatile; — of which the reason 

was 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 11 

was as little under regulation as the pas- 
sions. He possessed talents, but he rather 
delighted in their display, than their e.r- 
ercise — and that display was of the most 
fantastic kind. He loved to soar into the 
untravelled regions of thought^ to raise 
the airy fabrics of fancy on vacancy^ to 
enter on the very confines of intellect, 
and bend over the world of shadows and 
unreal forms. This mental malady was 
aggravated by indulgence till no proposi- 
tion struck him, but under the form of a 
paradox, no event interested him, unless 
darkened by a shade of mystery or adven- 
ture ; — but this intellectual obliquity was 
only partial, it was confined to his mode 
of apprehending y not of pursuing objects; 
for, when the direction of his mind was 
once discovered, by an artful application 
to its assailable part, its future progress 
might be ascertained without the least al- 
lowance for delay or deviation. Under 
this heated and irregular state of mind he 

had 



1 2 FATAL REVENGE ; 01?, 

had embraced the study of astrology; a 
study of which none but those who have 
travelled know the influence, which is 
as general as it is violent, and under which 
foreign nobility are often known to main- 
tain a professional astrologer in their pa- 
laces, rather as an assistant of habitual 
knowledge, than a hidden agent of super- 
stition. On a mind like that of Ippolito, 
this pursuit operated with peculiar dan- 
ger; by pointing out, as the subjects of 
its study, some of the most striking ob- 
jects of sense, it tempted a mind but too 
susceptible of impressions from such sub- 
jects. Few can resist the emotions inspired 
by the night-view of an Italian sky; a view, 
unfolding the Host of Heaven in lustre, 
magnitude, and number, never witnessed 
and never imagined in our cloudy and 
contracted hemisphere; — and few can cal- 
culate the awful solicitude to which those 
emotions swell, when the gazer thinks he 
beholds in those solemn objects the arbi- 
ters 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 13 

ters of his destiny, traces in their progress 
the mysterious movements of fate, and 
seeks from their position, a knowledge of 
those events, which all are alike solicitous to 
know, though conscious that their know- 
ledge can neither hasten nor retard their ap- 
proach, neither diminish their certainty, nor 
mitigate their inflictions. At first, this study 
was confined to the more serious events of 
life ; but in a short time, its influence 
became so extensive, that it mingled in 
the most trivial, even in those lighter mo- 
ments of which solemn thought is deemed 
an interruption. If this topic was alluded 
to, the laugh was hushed, the frolic sus- 
pended, and the giddy Ippolito became 
intensely thoughtful, or laboriously inqui- 
sitive. Of this a proof occurred shortly 
after his arrival in Naples, attended by 
circumstances somewhat peculiar. At the 
gay season of the carnival, when supersti- 
tion indulges her votaries with a remission 
of austerity, Ippolito was present at a 

masked 



ti FATAL BEVENGE; OR, 

masked ball given by a Neapolitan of 
rank. On this gay evening, every hour 
saw him a new character, and every cha- 
racter was marked by some frolic of 
levity, or some sally of wit. Through the 
gardens, which the softened lights, the 
foliage, the fountains, the invisible min- 
strelsy, and mingled moon-light, made to 
resemble the bowers of enchantment, he 
glided, sometimes as the shepherd of 
Guarini, and sometimes as the hero of 
Ariosto; he now attracted the multitude 
by a spontaneous burst of eloquence and 
song, and now entertained a female mask 
with the most animating gallantry^ — at 
length, weary of frolic, he assumed the 
habit of a domino, and mixing among 
the groups, endeavoured to receive the 
amusements he had so lavishly afforded. 
In a short time his attention was arrested 
by a mask who had hovered around the 
whole evening, apparently unconnected 
with any party. The dress and figure were 
A fantastic 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 15 

fantastic, even beyond the lice^ice of a 
mask; it had united the characters of a 
gipsy and an astrologer^ under an em- 
blematic habit ; its mask depicted a coun- 
tenance wild and haggard^ and its language, 
unlike the quaint jargon of the place, was 
sombrous, solemn, and unusual. This mask 
had frequently approached Ippolito du- 
ring the evening, yet when he attempted 
to address it, abruptly turned away. But 
its language and gesture were inviting, for 
it sometimes sung, and sometimes scat- 
tered among the groups, the following 
lines: 

I. 

Agents of this earthy sphere, 
Now on joy's bright billo\v swelh'ng, 
Now pent in misery's murky dwelling, 
The sport of hope, the prey of care — • 
But wildly anxious, still, to know 
The mystic current's ebb and flow, 
Attend my song, my skill revere. 
List to believe, and pause to hear — 



II. 



16 FATAL EEVENGE; OS, 

TI. 

'Tis mine to bid life's colours glow, 
To swell its bliss, or sooth its woe ; 
From doubt's dim sphere, bid shadows fly, 
And people void futuritj' ; — ■ 
To sooth pale passion's feverous dream, 
To feed ambition's lurking flame, 
Chastise proud joy with menaced ill. 
Fierce pain, with promised pleasure, still, 
Till hope wears, 'mid the mimic strife^ 
The tints of truth, the forms o-f life. - 

III. 

Nor wants me source the skill to gain 
That mocks at nature's bounded reign-— 
Where ocean beats against the sky, 
Beyond their mingling bounds I fly, 
And all amid the wheeling spheres 
I read their viewless characters — 
Those waning form;*, so wan and pale, . 
That thwart the moon, all dimly sail, 
To the wrapt eye that reads, unfold 
^lore than to mortal may be told — 
Anon I wing the waste of night. 
Arrest the comet in his flight. 
And shoot upon his burning wing, 
And round my spells of wonder fling. 



Agents 



THE I'AMILY OF MONTORIO. 17 

Agents of this lower sphere 

List to believe, and pause to hear. 



The festivity was now closing, and the 
masks dispersing, and amid the last mur- 
murs of departing gaiety, this mask 
again approached Ippolito; — he turned, 
it paused, and when it spoke, its voice 
was tremulous and hesitating. — '' Youth,'* 
it said;, " thy favourable star presides to- 
night." — '' I have as yet experienced but 
little of its influence," said Ippolito, with 
careless gaiety : '' I have sought amuse- 
ment, and found only weariness and dis- 
appointment. I have sought nectar on 
the lip of a Hebe, and been almost 
stifled with the scent of diabolone. I was 
on the point of conducting the goddess 
of chastity to a cassino, when, intreating 
her to remain no longer under an eclipse, 
I removed her mask, and discovered Diana 
converted into Hecate. I encountered a 
vestal virgin, whose shrine"— Here he was 

interrupted 



18 ^ FATAL revenge; OR, 

interrupted by the mask^ who, mingling 
moral strictures with a characteristic 
speech, informed him, he was commis- 
sioned by the stars to announce the ap- 
proach of an aerial monitor, a little, be- 
nign, officious sylph ; '' Just now," said 
he, '' darting from the planet Mercury, on 
an invisible line of light — invisible to all 
eyes but mine. His task is to be your 
moral improvement, your happiness hi§ 
delight and reward. He will assume a 
form, he will speak a language like your 
own. He \vil! attend, he will watch, he 
will warn you. Beware you repel him 
not, for if you do, he spreads his fairy 
pennons, and happiness flies you for 
ever.'* 

On Ippolito*s peculiarly constructed 
mind, this address had its full effect; 
similar language, on any other subject, he 
had heard with derision, but this, because 
mingled with the terms of astrology, ar- 
rested his attention and his curiosity. The 

circumstances^ 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 1<> 

circumstances, too, of time and place, 
gave an unsuspected force to the impres- 
sion. Solitude succeeding to the con- 
course of crowds, and silence to their 
clamours, which still left a mixt murmur 
on the ear — the dim and partial light 
which fell on the wild features of the 
mask, and the tones of its voice, which 
every moment assumed a more plaintive 
and natural earnestness. " When and 
^vhere shall I see this messenger of the 
stars/' said Jppolito, almost seriously, " if 
you have power to announce his ap- 
proach, you have also power to expedite 
it — shew me his form, let me hear his 
voice." — If I do,*' interrupted the mask, 
" will you believe my prediction — will 
you admit the object of it to your service, 
your confidence?" Ippolito assented. The 
mask hesitated incredulously. His curi- 
osity was now inflamed, and he promised 
solemnly. '' Look here," said the mask, 
drawing from beneath its garment a glass, 

figured 



20 FATAL kevenge; or^ 

figured with strange characters^ *' look 
here, you are obeyed." — Ippolito eagerly 
gazed on the glass, and beheld a fate, 
which looking over his shoulder, disap- 
peared in a moment; the view w^as instan- 
taneous, but the impression indelible; for 
the features bore a peculiar arid interest- 
ing expression, which once seen, could 
scarce be fororotten. The mask glided 
away, and, w^hile Ippolito yet paused in 
wonder. v;as lost aiTiong the groups and 
the shadows. 

Of his v>^onder, he felt the effect to be 
both pleasing and painful ; pleasing, be- 
cause it soothed his love of the marvellous, 
and painful, because the curiosity it ex- 
cited was lingratined. As he slowly re- 
turned hoaiew^ards, he almost expected 
his promised visitor to appear behind the 
shade of a pillar as he passed, or cross 
his path with some strange greeting. He 
had arrived, however, without interrup- 
tion at the Palazzo di Montorio, and was 

preparing 



THE FAMILY OF MONTOPvIO. 21 

preparing to ascend the steps, when 
a light figure, which had been leaning 
half unseen against the balustrade, ap- 
proached, and solicited reception in the 
language of the mask : as it spoke, it 
withdrew a large hat which shaded its 
face, and discovered the very features 
which Ippolito had seen flit over the glass 
of the wizard. Disarmed at this moment 
of every power, but the power to gaze, 
he viewed the figure, and for an instant 
suffered himself to doubt if it belonged 
to earth or not; then endeavouring to 
recal his spirits, addressed it in a style of 
appropriate gaiety : — inquired from what 
sphere it had fallen — and asked whether 
it had travelled on a meteor or a moon- 
beam? His raillery was only answered by 
more earnest petitions for admission, with 
which Ippolito, on whom the circum- 
stances of the night had made more im- 
pression than he would either acknow- 
ledge or resist, at length complied. 

Such 



!I2 FATAL revenge; or. 

Such was the conduct of this light-minded 
young man, whose judgment and ima- 
ginati n were at perpetual though un- 
equal war, and who ridiculed at one mo- 
ment the feelings, whose impulse, at the 
next, was suffered to decide the events of 
life. — He knew not, if the person he had 
admitted was not an assassin or a heretic, 
but he knew, that to admit him flattered 
his favourite propensity — the love of the 
marvellous. 



CHAR 



i 



THE FAMILY Or MONTORIO. 23 



CHAP. II. 



Ah, wretch! believed the spouse of God in vaia. 

Pope. 



On the succeeding day, Ippolito found 
a recent extraordinary circumstance the 
theme of every as!?embly he visited. 
In narratives of wonders, we are never 
contented with facts, without inquiring 
into motives, though the subtler springs 
of human actions often elude the dis- 
covery of the agents themselves. — But 
here was ample room for conjecture : — 

On 



^4 FATAL revenge; OR, 

On Rosolia di Valozzi, the daughter of a 
noble family, resident at Naples, were 
bestowed the most dangerous gifts of na- 
ture, an interesting form, and a mind sus- 
ceptible '"^ even to madness.'* 

All the softer, and all the stronger, 
modes of this dangerous quality were 
assembled in her mind : — there is a do- 
mestic sensibility which expends itself on 
the common vicissitudes, and petty dis- 
asters of life ; and there is a lofty frame 
of feeling which, overlooking the lower 
modes of human suffering, creates for 
itself a system of heroic dignity, and 
unaffecting distress. 

The more subtle spirit of both these 
was hers, but both purified, blended, and 
reconciled ; the former, without its hack- 
nied parade of daily exhibition; the 
latter, without its proud and pedantic 
inutility. — Thus she was prevented from 
knowing that relief which vulgar and ro- 
mantic sensibility indmdiiallij enjoy, (the 

one 



TtlE FAMILY OF MONTOPxIO. 25 

one from the natural diminution of di- 
vided feeling, the other from the neces- 
sary remission of superhuman loftiness) 
and her feelings were tempered to that 
exquisite mixture of softness and firm- 
ness, which, whilst it sought its object 
and its exercise among the things of this 
w^orld, w^ould employ in their attainment 
a reach and energy of power, only com- 
mensurate to the great objects of another. 

These uncommon faculties were first 
developed amid objects and scenery emi- 
nently calcutated to elicit the latent, and 
stimulate the awakening sensibility of a 
young mind ; — amid woods, whose depth 
of shade soothed and solemnized — seas, 
whose vastness and serenity poured still- 
ness^ on the soul — mountains, whose wilder 
features mixed fear with wonder — masses 
of Gothic and Grecian ruins, whose very 
stones breathed round them that nameless 
spirit of antiquity, which makes us trem- 
ble with a delicious dread on the ground 

vcL. u c marked 



56 FATAL revenge; ok, 

marked by its remains : — amid such scenes, 
Rosolia, yet an infant, wandered — amid 
such her mind imbibed a tincture of 
enthusiasm, full, rich and deep : — amid 
such scenes, stood the convent where 
Rosolia, with other female nobility, was 
educated. Here she wandered, without a 
guide, or a companion ; for melancholy 
is unsocial, and enthusiasm impatient of 
restraint or interruption, and the feelings 
>vhich she delighted to indulge, sought no 
participation, and disdained all control. 
Here life w^as expended in stimulating a 
sensibility already too exquisite for rea- 
son, or almost for life, and instead of sub- 
duing her mind to the pursuit of rational 
utility andl practicable happiness, in ele- 
vating herself into the agent of another 
system, surrounded by forms and objects 
of her own creation, whose brilliancy pro- 
claimed their want of reality, and whose ex- 
quisite and fallacious delights untiaied her 
mind for the simplicity of substantial en- 

iovment. 



THE FAMILY OF MOXTORIO. 27 

joyment. Nature and solitude gradually- 
lead the mind to abstraction, and of abstract 
imagery, the most powerful and splendid 
are the presence and perfections of the 
Deity. To these, therefore, her mind was 
naturally elevated; and no impressions 
from external or temporal objects could 
pervert the homage of her feelings. 

At the age of fourteen, therefore, never 
concluding that her feelings could have 
any other object or occasion of exercise 
than the present — that any subject of in- 
tercst could exist beyond the bounds of a 
cloister, or the sphere of monasticism ; 
she announced her intention of taking the 
veil within the walls of the convent where 
she had been educated. Pier family, too 
wealthy for the needy policy which devotes 
the younger daughters of Italian families 
to the veil, heard her resolution v;ith 
regret, and endeavoured to dissuade her 
from her purpose. She remained inflex- 
ible, and her parents were compelled to 
c 2 content 



28 FATAL REVENtiE; OR, 

content themselves with obtaining the 
respite of one year, which it was proposed 
she should pass with them at Naples. 
To this invitation she acceded, with that 
disdain of temptation, from which it bor- 
rows its greatest danger; and, rather to 
gratify her religious feelings by a solemn 
exercise, than to bind them by inviolable 
security, alone, at midnight, at the foot 
of the altar, she engaged herself by a so- 
lemn vow, when the importunity of the 
world had ceased, to return to the con- 
vent, and assume the veil. Thus fortified, 
she entered the world, to bestow on it a 
passing glance of disdain, and then quit 
it for ever, — and on her first appearance, 
was received with wonder and delight. 
Her pensive and nun-like beauty, the 
simplicity of her manner, and her mind, 
over which the glow of enthusiasm, and 
the shade of melancholy chased each other 
alternately, like the varying shades of a 
beautiful complexion; the careless over- 

2 flow 



THE FAMILY OF MONTOPvia §9 

flow of her sentiinents, at once reaching 
by happy excellence all that the reMne- 
ments of practice, and the labours of art 
profess slowly and painfully to teach ; all 
this made her, even to the sophisticated 
sense of fashion, a new and exquisite 
feast. Rosolia at first retreated ; for, 
thoush not unconscious of excellence, she 
was too timid for notoriety, and too de- 
licate for flattery. But we are easily 
reconciled to our own praises, and she soon 
appeared content to stay a little longer 
in the world, to irradiate and delight it. 
Amid this blaze of admiration, while 
a soft consciousness of pleasure seemed to 
be stealing over her mind and senses, she 
became on a sudden more lonely and pen- 
sive than ever ; her cheek grew pale, and 
her eye wandered. Her familv, who ob- 
served the change, and enquired the cause, 
received evasive answers; and v/hen their 
solicitude, increasing with her increasing- 
malady, became importunate, it was an- 
swered 



30 FATAL KEVENGE ,* OR, 

swered by her declaring, that her resolu- 
tion to take the veil had been delayed too 
long, and she was resolved to put it in 
immediate execution. 

The scruples of conscience, though all 
lamented, none could oppose, and about 
a year after her entrance into the world, 
she quitted it for ever. But from the 
moment that the grate was closed on her, 
her silence became oloom, and her me- 
lancholy, misery ; and after lingering a 
a few months in hopeless dejection, she 
•disappeared one evening after vespers, and 
w^as seen no more. Of an event so 
strange, none could assign cither the 
motive or the means; and after the 
usual forms of inquiry and lam.entation 
were observed^ a wild conjecture, or 
an exclamation of wo.ndcr, were all 
that commemorated the fate of Rosolia. 
When Ippolito returned to the palace, he 
found a letter from his brother Annibal, who 
resided with the family at the Castle, and 

with 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 51 

with whom he maintained a regular cor- 
respondence. The attachment which pro- 
duced this w^as rendered remarkable by 
the total dissimilarity of their characters. 
Annibal was as timid, gloomy, and mis- 
trustful, as Ippolito was bold, open, and 
credulous; but both partook equally of 
that attachment to dark pursuits which 
characterized the family, and of that in- 
flexibility of sombrous resolution, with 
w^hich they adhered to a visionary pursuit, 
however irregularly conceived. — The sub- 
stance of the letter was nearlv as follows. — 



c5 

CHAP. 



52 TATAh KEVENGE; Ofi> 



CHAP. Ill 



PriEterea fult in tectis de marmore templura— 
Hinc exaudiri vcces, et verba vocaniis.— 

Virgil. 

A marble temple stood within the grove—— 

Oft, when she visited this lonely dome, 

Strange voices issued from her husband's lomb, 

DrydeK, 



My mind has been so occupied by strange 
events, and the reflections thev have sug- 
gested, that I have forborn, for some 
time past, to v/iite to you. When about 
to relate them, I again revolve those cir- 
cumstanceSj so simple in their commence- 
ment. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. OO 

nient^ yet gradually unfolding something 
that arrests incredulity itself, and still 
pointing* onward to things dark and un- 
known—I revolve all this, I seem in a 
dream^ and try in vain to give form and 
reality to the shadows that are hovering 
round me. ■ 

I have slept and awoke again — I have 
stood at my casement — this is the arbutus 
and the laurel that wave beneath it — this 
is the sea-^breeze that breathes freshness 
on me — I see the glorious sun standing 
in the heaven, — these all are the objects of 
the senses, and they make their due and, 
wonted impression on mine. Yet the 
objects I have lately witnessed are not less 
palpable than these. You have often 
laughed at my visionary gloom, prepare 
now to share the ridicule, or to resign 
the evidence of your senses. 

The old chapel, without the walls of 
the castle, has long been dilapidated, 
and is at present filled v;ith vrorkmen. 

Youi 



34t FATAL revenge; or. 

You know my fondness for ruins. I 
strolled there after my siesle. 1 found 
the threat doors closed, and that the work- 
men had entered through a chasm under 
one of the shattered windows. As I look- 
ed through the cavity, the various fea- 
tures of the view, the fragments of ruin, 
the rustic groups, some labouring, some 
gazing vacantly around, alid the figure 
of a boy, who placed in a recess half- 
hid among \^\^ clustering shrubs, breathed 
a few wild notes on his pipe, touched 
me v/ith that pleasant melancholy, which 
is suggested by the view of ancient decay 
and modern apathy, of desolated majesty, 
and ignorance gazing amongst its ruins. 
As 1 continued to lean on a projection 
of the chasm, unseen, I overheard a con- 
versation, suggested by the place, and 
si^ch as I would live to listen to on 
a wintry night, by a low, flitting, em- 
ber-fire. It told of spirit and shadow, 
and ^elf-lighted tapers, and bells that 

rung 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 35 

rung untouched within those deserted 
walls. I listened with curiosity plea- 
santly stiiTcd, till I was roused by some 
dark allusions. I listened, but could 
not understand; they spake '' of the 
Count's not resting better in his bed, 
than his ancestors in their graves, if 
those things were known ;' and observ- 
ed that '' old, white-headed Michelo, 
in spite of his guarded silence, was too 
well acquainted with them. '^' Though my 
first impulse, on returning to the castle, 
was to send for the old groom of the 
chambers, and satiate my appetite for 
the marvellous with hi& legendary won- 
ders, I had no other object than to pass 
a vacant hour in listening to a tale 
that required little effort either of 
thought or credit. I had at least little 
apprehension of what awaited mo, little 
fear of being in a state like that of one 
who is gradually impelled towards a pre- 
cipice, the terrors of which he can nei- 
4 ther 



56 FATAL IlEVENGE ,* OR^ 

thcr measure nor avoid. Michelo came 
on my summons. Desirous of full infor- 
mation, and aware of his cautious and 
timid temper, I endeavoured to frame 
my request skilfully. " Michelo," said I^ 
'^ I have often listened with delight to 
the family legends your memory is so 
well stored with; — but I am informed you 
are in possession of some still more mar- 
vellous and terrible, something you will 
not communicate to a common ear, and 
which I hope you have reserved for 
mine." This address, so far from an 
accusation, and only implying a know- 
ledge compatible with the purest inno- 
cence, produced the most terrible effect 
on i\\Q old man. His lips quivered, and 
his countenance changed, and with the 
most earnest solemnity he besought me, 
not to importune him for the disclosure 
I referred to. The impression I received 
from his agitation was indescribable. The 
vague curiosity with which I had begun 

the 



THE FAMILY OP MONTORIO. 57 

the convei'sation was at once exchanged 
for the pursuit of somethinf^ 1 could not 
well define, but whose importance was 
increased 'by its obscurity. 

I told him I was now convinced he was 
acquainted with something — '^ something 
which it is perhaps necessary for me, as 
a son of this house, to know — something 
into which more than curiosity ought to 
inquire/' I assured him of my favour if 
he complied, and if not, menaced hint 
with my fathers displeasure. His answer, 
though confused and broken, I shall not 
soon forget. *' Oh, Signor, for the Virgin's 
sake, let not my lord your father know 
of this conference ; do not draw his ven- 
geance on us, his vengeance is terrible. 
Little do you know, little alas, do I know 
myself, if I knew all, or even believed 
what I have heard, how could I pass the 
chapel, as I do at night, how could I tra- 
verse these lone apartments, or venture 
to sleep in that little turret, over the 

xierif 



38 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

*vcry room — where the wind sings so dole- 
ful that if I suffered myself to think I 
might fancy it was — I might run mad 
listening to it/* I bade him be composed^ 
but the composure 1 recommended, I 
was far from enjoying myself. My anx- 
ious love of the marvellous was mixed 
with other feelings; nor could I, (though 
I affected to do so) believe the agitation 
of the old man was occasioned by the 
nugatory tales of menial superstition. 
He rose from his knees, condemning 
himself for having '' foolishly and wick- 
edly betrayed himself, overcome by my 
sudden question and piercing eye.'* — I will 
not harass you with the repetition of 
menace and intreaty, of expostulation and 
evasion. He at length consented to ad- 
mit me to his lone, remote turret that 
night, for he still dreaded our being dis- 
covered or even observed by the family. 
The night, like every other period to 
which solicitude adds an imaginary length, 
was slow in arrival. When 



i 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 39 

When I ascended the turret, I thought 
I observed in the old man's face an ex- 
pression of artificial composure, the effort 
of recollected and resolute craftiness. He 
seated himself, trimmed his lamp, and 
then abruptly demanded what it was I 
required him to relate. In the tumult of 
expectation, in that state of suspense which 
expects the disclosure of something un- 
known, this had entirely escaped me; 
and apprehending that my cuviosity would 
be mocked by some temporary and trivic-^l 
invention, hastily and almost unintention- 
ally, I desired him to relate the circum- 
stances by which my fathei% who I under- 
stood was distantly related to the late 
possessor, had succeeded to the family 
honours. He appeared confounded, but 
unable to retreat; and it occurred to me, 
if I could engage him to commence the 
narrative, I might trust to his habitual 
prolixity to disclose what he might at first 
intend to conceal. After some delay, he 

informed 



40 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

informed me^ that possessor had been 
my uncle, my father's own brother. Of 
this man he gave a character th:it seemed 
to warm him into eloquence; he described 
it as a mixture of the most shining qua- 
lities, and the fiercest passions. His love 
was madness, his courage, rashness, his 
hatred deadly, and his vengeance, though 
honourable, as the cavaliers in Naples 
call it, there was no escaping from with 
life. — " All your house," continued he, 
^' v/ere much attached to secret studies; 
your uncle was in particular much versed 
in strange books and arts, and in a w\iy 
of going up to ask the stars whether he 
was to be happy or miserable; — Alas, it 
would have been better to have asked his 
own heart. — Many a night would my lord 
pass on the high turrets of his castle, and 
on his descent, he would walk about his 
apartment for hours, talking to himself 
about trines, and sextiles, and quadrants, 
and horoscopes, and ascendants, hard 

words. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 41 

words^ which I learnt, from hearing them 
repeated so often, without knowing their 
meaning. 

'' I would not, to be lord of this castle, 
know it. For a holy benedictine once as- 
sured me, it w^as all heresy, and that 
these were only different names for 
Lucifer." I will endeavour to abridge 
Michelo's narrative : he mentioned my 
uncles marriage with the loveliest, the 
gentlest, the most heavenly of women. 
He mentioned that he had children; the 
picture of the Countess, he said, was 
yet in a deserted part of the castle, with 
most of the furniture of those gay days; 
there he had removed them on my fa- 
ther's return to the castle. The story 
was sad and intricate ; he told of my 
uncle's domestic happiness being sud- 
denly and strangely suspended by a habit 
of fierceness and gloom, which he cmpha- 
t ica II 1/ d^ted from the arrival of my father^ 
and a confidential servant of his, whom he 

called 



A2 FATAL revenge; OR, 

called Aseanio^ at the castle. — '' Even amid 
all the revelry and mirth on my lord's 
arrival/' said he, '' it was v^^hispered by 
the domestics, who accompanied them from 
Naples, that the lady was likely to lead 
a life of lone, uncomfortaUle splendour; for 
owing either to my lord's jealousy, or 
some secret cause of disquiet, that even 
then spread a shade of melancholy over 
her beautiful face ; they both, seemed 
resolved on total retirement. — Matters 
grew more dark and strange ; my lady 
wept in her chamber alone ; my lord 
stalked silently through his; your father 
appeared distracted with the distress he 
witnessed, and alternately conferred with 
each alone, I suppose, endeavouring to 
conciliate and soolh them. At length it 
was announced that my lord was to make 
an excursion to the Grecian Isles; this 
excursion the Countess, now near her con- 
finement, was not to accompany; he was 
to be attended only by Ascanio. Ascanio, 

at 



THE FAMILY Of MONTORIO. 45 

at this time, appeared to enjoy the confi- 
dence of both brothers exclusively. I 
envied him not; ?/^j/ love and fidelity to 
mv lord were, what a domestic's should 
be, humble, and distant, though dear; I 
lamented my master's sorrow^ without 
presuming to inquire into them, but 
Ascanio was bold, forward, and subtle."— 
'' Is this Ascanio yet alive,'' said I, " he 
might eke out your narrative with some 
strange particulars." ^^ He might indeed,^* 
said the old man — " no, vSignor, he is dead, 
and his end was strange and fearful." I 
would not tempt him to digression by 
inquiring. ^' When my lord had now been 
some months gone, we could perceive 
that a greater consternation than ever 
reigned in the castle; packets were hour- 
ly arriving from abroad, the Countess 
never quitted her apartment, and my lord 
your father appeared overborne with agi- 
tation. At length, it was about the close 
of autumn, it had been a sickly, sultry 

season. 



44 FATAL REVENGE ,* OE, 

season, and the mountain had been tur- 
bulent, and the people while they listened 
to its murmurs, said, that they presaged 
sad and strange events would soon happen. 
We were assembled in the hall of the 
castle for vespers, for the chapel was 
then repairing ; a hot intermitting blast 
breathed through the casement, and some 
of the domestics who had been in Naples 
that day, told us that the mountain had 
sent forth strange sounds in the night, 
and that the city awaited the approach of 
that evening in terror ; one of them said, 
that as they came along, there was a 
heavy murmuring through the woods, and 
that their tops waved without a breath of 
wind — '' Yes,'' said another, '' but that 
was not the strangest object I saw in the 
woods to day/' We desired him to ex- 
plain, and the domestic then affirmed with 
solemn asseverations, that the Count his 
master had appeared to him that day in 
the wood at a little distance from— at 

this 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 45 

this fantastic account o[ one whom we 
knew to be absent in the Grecian Islands, 
all laughedj when the man suddenly rising 
from his seat, and rushing into the passage 
that communica:es wirh the great s'.,jrs, 
called us loudly to '' ?( /. . v-- 
them, and beckoning to him uc . e 
balustrade/' — In a moment eyery inciivi- 
dual was in the passage, the echo of a 
step was distinctly heard, and some ayer- 
red they saw a shadow pass on the staii-s — 
but our attention was quickly withdrawn. 
Ascanio arriyed, breathless and spent, and 
pushing away the eager inquirers with 
both his hands, hastened to your father's 
apartment. Meanwhile evening was ag- 
gravated by a gathering darkness ; a mass 
of yapour issued from the mountain, and 
the sun appeared as a dim and bloody 
globe in the midst of an immense vault 
of black cloud—every one breathed an 
inward prayer, and none told their fears 
to the other — when^ as in a moment, a 

column 



46 FATAL revenge; ok, 

column of fire, brighter than noon, rose 
from the mountain, flashing a horrible 
glare of yellow light on the woods, and 
shore, its edgings lanced with lightnings, 
and its centre white with intense heat; it 
was suspended a moment at its greatest 
height, or appeared so to our eyes, and 
the next came rushing down the sides of 
the mountain in floods of fire — a strong 
concussion of the earth followed, the air 
and elements were in wondrous motion, 
and the lightnings, or meteors rather, 
broad and flaky, hissed and wreathed in 
fearful play on the turret points and 
casements. When the first burst of ter- 
ror was over, I thought of the Countess 
and her children ; she used to sit with 
them in a high and lonely tower, of 
which I scarcely believed but it was 
crumbled to ashes. I hastened up the 
great stairs, when — the terrors of my tale 
are coming on, they are too strong for 
me, let me have air, let me have breath, 
Signor/'- Solicitous 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 4T 

Solicitaus, both for the old domestic 
and his story, I assisted him to vise, and 
supported him to his narrow casement. 
In a few moments he respired ; I watched 
the progress of his recovery ; my eye was 
fixed on his ; it became suddeiily fixed and 
hollow ; he extended his arm from the 
casement ; but the breath which he had 
but just recovered, utterly forsook him — 
he could not speak — my eye followed the 
pointing of his finger. The night was still 
and dark, the ruined chapel was beneath 
4:he casement — as I gazed, a light, pale but 
distinct, fell on the walls, and on the 
shrubs that have mantled round them ; 
I watched it, it wandered^, borne by no 
hand, accompanied by no step, along the 
chancel, (I saw it gkaming past our win- 
dows), and expired at the tomb of our 
uncle. ?»Iichelo and I remained aghast — 
we remained near an hour, silent, scarcelv 
breathing — we saw it return. Then I 
tried to swallow down the thick and 

stifling 



48 FATAL revekge; or, 

stifling sensation with which my throat 
w?v filled. '' Michelo/' said 1, '' has this 
be : srjn before?'' '^ Often/' said the 
old man, " by me." '' Has no visible form, 
no distinct sound attended it ?" '' Often/' 
said he again. " And have you ever wit- 
nessed?" — " Listen, Signer, — to you alone 
would I tell what I have witnessed : other 
strange appearances have long been talked 
of within these walls ; this is but recent. 
A few nights ago, when I first observed 
that light, I was tempted to follow it. I 
thought it might be some one whom cu- 
riosity or ignorance had led there, and I 
entered without apprehension. The light 
that glided before me, disappeared at the 
tomb of Count Orazio ; I heard a sound 
issuing from it, that could scarce be called 
a groan, or any thing that signifies a hu- 
man accent. I approached it, I know not 
how ; I shudder now to tell it ; yet I re- 
member I did not shudder then. The 
massive grating of the vault was wrenched 

open — 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 49 

open — I descended — yes, I did descend : 
a flash of light burst forth again, and as 
it hissed on the damp arching, the palls 
waved with a visible motion — the coffins 
rattled on the biers — something, I could 
neither distinguish nor describe, hovered 
before my eyes — a pressure (not of a 
fleshly hand) came over my face; it was 
bony, a"nd cold, and damp. I lost all fur- 
ther power or feeling, and when I reco- 
vered, I was laid without the walls of the 
chapel, on the damp grass, my lamp 
burning beside me; could I have travelled 
there in trance ? I hasted to my turret- 
room, I stood to collect my breath, my 
eyes fell on that miiTor you are looking at 
now, my face reeked with livid streaks 
of blood! >! — To none but you have I 
mentioned this." 

No one could hear the old man's earn- 
est voice, and look on his pale face, and 
disbelieve him. You know my habit, to 

YOL. I. D reason 



50 FATAL revenge; or, 

Tcason on every thing : but what could I 
do, with what I had just seen and heard; 
they were too palpable for fancy, yet too 
wild for conjecture, and I endeavoured, 
alike in vain, to treat them as a fume of 
mental vapour, or try them by any rule 
of sober solution. My thoughts wandered 
from Michelo and his narrativ:e to myself; 
insensibly I began to conceive myself in 
his situation, possessed, it should seem, of 
dark secrets, and tempted to supernatural 
intercourse. I examined, involuntarily, 
how such an emergency would find me 
prepared. I calculated the chances of de- 
ception. I inquired into the constitution 
of my mind, and the probable power of 
such impressions over it, were it exposed 
to them. The result gave me a strange 
satisfaction. I felt as if I were called to 
such a trial, and would approve myself in 
it. I am strong of frame, steady of nerve, 
slow^ in perception ; possessing but little 

©f 



THE FAMILY OF MOKTORIO. 51 

of the light or fantastic po Wei's of mind; 
seldom indulging them in their airy play; 
and when I do^ surveying it as the tra- 
veller surveys the fi^iliacious dance of the 
fairy lights, only to shun their illusions. 
Such a character presents only one assail- 
able part, in that attachment to visionary 
subjects by which, I have heard, our 
family are distinguished. 

But even this has attained no habitual 
or positive influence over my mind. It 
diffuses rather a shade than a gloom ; its 
effect has been like that of twilight, whose 
shadows inspire a dubious and grateful 
awe, not midnight that peoples its dark 
recesses with shapes of fear. The result 
of my deliberations has been what perhaps 
it would have been, if I had not deli- 
berated at all, — to gratify the simple and 
original impulse of curiosity, by a pur- 
suit of which I vainly flatter myself the 
object is higher. I determined to make 
D a Michel© 



mVERSlTY OF 
iHmiS UBRARY 



52 FATAL kevenge; oe, 

Michelo conclude his narrative; I deter- 
mined to visit the tomb of Count Orazio 
at night. 1 need not tell you I accepted 
Michelo's offer to accompany me, without 
reluctance. He has a knowledge of pri- 
vate passages in the castle which may be 
useful in eluding observation. " Signor/' 
" said he, '' the passages we must traverse, 
lead near those apartments so long shut 
up, the apartments of your late uncle 
and his Countess. You must permit me, 
as we pass them, to shut my eyes; do 
you, Signor, lead me, and as we draw near 
them speak cheerfully, and let me feel 
your hand on mine.*' 

I consented to his conditions. The 
rcotch-night has arrived ; the family are 
at rest, and T am in the turret, awaiting 
the arrival of Michelo. Ippolito ! what 
is there in that nature and state, to which 
our better part aspires, that the belief of 
its agency is thus awful, that the thought 

of 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 53' 

of its visible approach or presence is scarce 
supportable. I have no definite appre- 
hension of what I may meet or see, but 
there is a busy and alarmed motion within 
TBG, as if something of evil impended, 
whose magnitude was too extensive, or 
whose features wxre too terrible even for 
expectation. I feel, at least, that its con- 
templation leaves room for no other ob- 
ject, though it is thus indefinite and vague 
itself. I have brought books ; I cannot 
read them. I have commenced several 
trains of thought ; 1 have started from them 
all J imagining I was in tJie vault. In spite 
of my resolution, I feel my respiration- 
grow short, and a sensation like swelling, 
oppressing my throat. 1 will walk up 
and down my narrow apartment. It wilL 
not do* • • 'my steps seemed limited to a 
certain track, beyond which I almost feared 
to extend them, and their echo was too 
loud. The hour is approaching; a few 

moments 



54 I'ATAL RLVi.NGE; OK. 

moments more, and the castle bell will 
toll. The hour that I have longed for, I 
almost begin now to wish more distant. I 
almost dread to hear the steps of Michelo. 
' • • -Hark ! — the bell tolls — the old turret 
seems to rock to its echo ; and the silence 
that succeeds, how deep, how stilly — 
would I could hear an owl scream. — Ha ! 
'twas the lightning that gleamed across 
me. 1 will go to the casement; the roar 
of the elements will be welcome at such 

a moment as this The night is 

dark and unruly — the w^ind bursts in 
strong and fitful blasts against the case- 
ment. The clouds are hurried along in 
scattering masses. There is a murmur 
from the forests below, that in a lighter 
hour I could trust fancy to listen to; but 
in my present mood, I dare not follow 
her wanderings. Would my old guide 
were come ! I feel that any state of fear 
rs supportable, accompanied by the sight 

or 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 55' 

or sound of a human being- • • -Was that 
shriek fancy ? — again, again — impossible ! 
Hark! there is a tumult in the castle — 
lights and voices beneath the turret* • • • 
What is this they tell me ? 



CHiltP. 



56 F>iTAL lUA'tNGE ; OR, 



CHAP. IV. 



Nec mens mihi, nee color 



Certa sede manet, humor et in genas 

Furlim labitur, arguens 

Quam lentis penitus macerer ignibus. 

Horace, 

My reason in confusion flies, 

And on my cheek th' uncertain colour dies j 

While the down-stealing tear betrays 

The lingering flame that on my vitals preys. 

Drydxjt, 

From the messenger who brought this 
letter, no further intelligence could be 
obtained. While Ippolito read it, thiy 
visionary spirit kindled within him, and 
he wished himself at the castle, to feast 
Im fancy with the dark imagery of 

spectred 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 57 

spectred terrors; while AnnibaPs mind, 
differently constructed^ was employed in 
resisting suspected imposition^ and sub- 
mitting with stubborn reluctance to the 
influence that thus inscrutably overcame 
him. But Ippolito's curiosity was now as 
much occupied by his young domestic,. as 
his brother's was by his old one. Amused 
by the strange circumstances of his intro- 
duction, Ippolito had assigned him an 
apartment near his own, and exempted 
him from every office of servitude. This 
was indeed a gratuitous indulgence, for 
had Cyprian, as he called himself, actually 
dropt from the sphere of another planet, 
he could scarce have been more ignorant 
of every thing relative to this. Ippolito 
perceived it, and resigned him to his own 
pui-suits. 

The form of Cyprian was slight and de' 
licate, a profusion of chesnut hair shaded 
his cheeks, and deepened the dark tint of 
melancholy thought, that sat for ever on 

D 5 his 



58 FATAL revenge; OR, 

his face. His head was seldom raised 
from a declining posture ; his features 
seldom varied their pensive expression ; 
but when they did, their sudden and eager 
bi'ightness of intelligence^ bespoke a mind 
of suppressed energies, and habitual de- 
jection. Though voluntarily assuming a 
station of servitude, he possessed all the 
refinements of manner and acquirement 
that mark the higher ranks of society. 
Seated at the harp, or organ, Cyprian 
poured through his delicate, half-open 
lips a stream of sound, more resembling 
respiration than tones modulated by art 
and practice ; they were the very sighs of 
inucic ; while his fingers, sinking into the 
strings, seemed almost to partVke living 
sensibility, and forget the power of mo- 
tion at the cadence. As a painter, his 
merit was distinguished; but in all he did, 
nothing appeared laboured, nothing even 
finished; he seemed to possess the genius 
€>r art, apparently without its rules or its 

labour 



THE FAMILY OF MOXTORIO, 59 

labours, and over all was spread a species 
of fragility, a certain delicacy of imper- 
fection, that characterized the desultoiy 
efforts of a mind which only required 
stability to arrive at perfection. But it 
was soon discovered, that neither as a- 
painter, nor a musician, did he remit that 
influence w^hich he claimed for his/her 
offices. He entered on his office of mo- 
nitor to Ippolito with a spirit and power 
that actually seemed given him from 
above. Ippolito listened with surprise, 
but it was surprise which the gentleness 
of the pleader disarmed of anger, and 
into which his eloquence infused admira- 
tion. 

Turning into jest, however, a conflict 
with a boy, he collected the powers of 
sophistry and declamation he was too well . 
accustomed to wield, and imagined that a 
few sentences of rapid brilliancy, would 
overwhelm the poor little pleader at once. 
But this meretricious array was displayed 

before 



60 ^ATAL revenge; or, 

before Cyprian in vain ; simple, earnest, 
sincere, he pursued his florid opponent 
"with the eloquence of a man, and the 
fervency of an angel. He was neither 
dazzled by verbiage, nor disconcerted by 
subtlety, and Ippolito's pride summoned 
him in vain to the cause which his con- 
science deserted. The conclusion of the 
debate proved that it was not for victory 
the young disputant had engaged ; he pro- 
ceeded with tenfold earnestness to press 
the practical consequences of his conces- 
.sions on Ippolito. Such was his inge- 
nuous pride, that what he could not de- 
fend he dared not practice ; and a boy 
caught the promise of reformation from 
a blushing libertine. But a more difficult 
task yet remained — to direct the choice of 
life while it was yet suspended, and to 
elfect a transition from one mode and 
habitude to another ; yet to conceal the 
interruption, and prevent the interme- 
diate wanderings of vacancy. At this 

moment 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 6l 

moment, therefere, Cyprian displayed all 
his resources; painting, and harmony, 
and poetry ; and over all his taste spread a 
charm, chaste and mellow, like that of 
moon-hght on a landscape — till Ippolito 
was delighted by the conscious expansion 
of latent powers, which he mistook for 
the acquisition of new ones ; and Cyprian 
succeeded in recalling to the forgotten 
pleasures of nature and of taste, a mind, 
fevered by the noxious stimulants of arti- 
ficial voluptuousness. But minds thus 
habituated are not easily weaned from 
periodical indulgence, and when the night 
arrired, not all the taste or talents of 
Cyprian could prevent the chronic fit of 
vacancy. When they failed, even the 
pensiveness of the little monitor would 
yield to his solicitude for his pupil; in the 
graceful petulance of airy command, he 
would wind his slender arms around Ip- 
polito, and y^'iih. female blandishments, de- 
.clare he should not quit the palace, blan- 
dishments. 



62 FATAL revenge; OR, 

dishments, to which he bowed with the 
pouting smile of yielding reluctance. 

They loved to wander amid the scenery 
of the shore;, to gaze on the last rich day- 
streak of purple, on the landscape melting 
into shade, and flattering the eye with a 
thousand mixt and visionary forms. The 
sea pouring forth an expanse of infinite 
brightness, dotted with dark skiffs and 
gallies, the moles vnd promontories 
stretching their narrow lines into the sea, 
and terminating in v/atch-towers, whose 
summits still retained the sun-light ; and 
to the North-East, Vesuvius, filling the 
view with masses of bold, tumultuous 
darkness. They lingered and listened to 
the stilly sounds of evening, the flow of 
the sea-breeze, the ripple of the tide, the 
hoarse voices of the seamen, and the 
lighter tones of peasants, who v/ere danc- 
ing in groups on the shore, and mingled 
with, though distinct from, all that hum of 
ceaseless sound, which a populous city 

sends 



THK FAMILY OP MONTORIO. 65 

sends forth at night, forming together a 
kind of animal music, which soothed^ if 
it did not elevate. They lingered till 
Ippolito's mind, ^' not touched but rapt/' 
suggested to Cyprian an opportunity for 
the object of his never-ending solicitude. 

He spoke of earthly things in all their 
excellency and beauty, being but as a veil 
spread before the fulness of impassible 
perfection, to which we are not to look;, 
but through them; he spake of the disso- 
lution of earthly things, as but the with- 
drawing of a veil, when that which it con- 
cealed shall break upon us in all its glo- 
rious beauty, filling our renewed faculties 
with a fulness of joy, "^ such as eye hath 
not seen, nor ear heard/' 

Ippolito listened, and was '^ almost /?er- 
suaded to be a Christian,"' 



e»AR 



64 FATAL revenge; or> 



CHAP. V. 



Cam subito e sylvls, macie confecta supremi 
Ignoti nova forma viri, miserajidaque cultu 
Proccdit. * Virgil, 

When from the woods there bolts before our slght^ 

Somewhat betwixt a mortal and a spright. 

So thin, so ghastly, meagre, and so wan, 

So bare of flesh, he scarce resembled man. Dr"x den. 

Second Letter from Annlbal. 

My last conclusion was abrupt ; I broke 
off in expectation of something import- 
ant — I was disappointed — the cries I heard 
were uttered by a servant, who passing 
near the chapel saw, or imagined he 

saw. 



THE FAMILY OF MOMTORIO. 65 

saw, something that temfied him almost 
to death. I listened to his story — I will 
listen to such no more; they unhinge 
and dissipate the powers which I would 
wish to concentrate and to fortifv. I 
have a dark, inward intimation that I 
shall be called to something which will 
require no common energies of thought 
and action. The only circumstance of 
this man's fear worth relating, was, that 
when he recovered his senses, he de- 
manded to be led to my father, and 
requested his confessor to attend. My 
father with a facility that astonished me, 
consented — but the monk was no where 
to be found. My father then seemed to 
recollect something that disturbed him^ 
and w^as dismissing the man when, from 
the small door of his oratory, the monk 
issued, and stood among us. His ap- 
pearance just at this juncture, his gaunt 
and sallow visage, the knots of his dis- 
ciplim stained with blood, the loose darl^ 

drapery 



C6 FATAL revenge; eit^ 

drapery of his habit^ which as he stood 
in the shade, gave a kind of floating ob- 
scurity to his form, combined to make 
an impression on me, I do not like to 
recal. On the man, who had desired to 
see him, it was terrible; he again became 
insensible, and was conveyed from the 
apartment. I found Michelo had taken 
advantage of the confusion this incident 
had produced to defeat my intention of 
visiting the chapel that night, an inten- 
tion of which it would be difficult to 
tell, whether the late circumstances had 

increased or diminished the force. 

Have I mentioned the confessor to you 
before, Ippolito? — If I have not, let me 
do it now; he is a strange being. He 
was originally an ecclesiastic of the Greek 
communionj the errors of which he 
renounced, and shortly after entered 
into a convent in the neighbourhood of 
Naples, the superior of which recom^ 
mfnded him as a person of uncommoH 

sanctity 



THE -FAMILY OF MOXTORIO. 67 

sanctity and unction. To this was added 
the reputation of his strict and ahnost 
.supernatural austerity ; qualifications still 
more welcome to our gloomy father. 

I never saw a form and air more un- 
earthly, a whole appearance more remote 
from the beings or business of this world, 
than this man's, whose name is Father 
Raffaello Schemoli. In his large fixed 
eye, all human fire appears to be dead ; 
his face is marked with the traces of 
past, rather than the expression of pre- 
sent, passions or events ; it seems like 
the bed of a torrent that has flowed 
away, but whose violence may yet be 
traced in its deep, dry, unlevelled fur- 
rows. The very few who have seen or 
known this man, speak of him with a kind 
of obscure fear. He is indeed an object 
for superstition or fancy to scare them- 
selves with. Even to my mind, he often 
has borne the aspect of those beings who 
are said to hold communion with both. 

worlds^ 



68 FATAL revenge; OKj 

worlds, who are permitted to mock us 
with a semblance of human shape and 
intercourse, while they are doing their 
dark offices in other elements than ours. 
I am ashamed to write thus superstitiously 
of him, but I would you could see him. 
For three following days Michelo shrunk 
from me; at length I met him in the west 
corridor, and without waiting for a reply 
which I was determined to disregard, 1 
told him I would visit his turret that night, 
and quitted him. But on my repairing 
to his chamber at night, what was my 
astonishment when he tenaciously re- 
fused to conclude the narrative of my 
uncle's disappearance. I entreated and 
expostulated; he was silent; I again threat- 
ened him with my father's interference. 
He shook his head emphatically : '' Inter- 
ference in this business^" said he, '^ my 
lord is not likely to use ; he already knows 
all that can be told, and perhaps is not 
solicitous that all should be known to. 

you." 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 69 

you/' Incensedj I intimated violent 

means. — " Violence can do nothing but 
destroy/' said he, '' and what pleasure 
can there be in sending with pain an old 
man to the grave but a few days before 
he would sink into it tranquilly/' To this 
pathetic obstinacy of the old man what 
could be replyed? Yet still I continued 
to importune him, till casting a searching 
glance round the chamber, and rising, he 
grasped my hands for a moment, and 
whispered, '' Signor, 1 am fordid." — I be- 
lieve he meant to convey the impression 
which I at once received from these words, 
that the influence which constrained hina 
was more than human ; still my solicitude 
was resistless, more resistless for this dark 
intimation, — And 1 pursued the subject in 
the hope of leading him by vague and 
indirect questions to unfold it. '' Have 
my uncle and his Countess been long 
dead," — '' their tombs have stood in the 
old chapel now eighteen years/' — *' This 
2 is 



70 FATAL revenge; OR;, 

is evasive, Michelo, your knowledge mus 
be positive/' "Is it then possible to know 
the living from the dead/' said ho^ wildly. 
i' There are some who go in and out, and 
walk amongst us as living things, over whom 
has long been laid many a good weight 
of earth and stone, but*' (checking him- 
self) '' for the Count Orazio, peace ta^ 
his bones, they never rested in the chapel 
of his ancestors/' — '^ Explain, Michelo/* 
'^ Yes, Signor, for that I can tell. Shortly 
after the report of the late Countess's 
death," — " The Countess then is dead/' 
" Pardon m,e, Signor, I only mentioned 
the report of her death-— I was returning 
from a journey, (on which I had been 
sent by your father, ) and on approaching 
the castle by night I saw the chapel illu- 
minated, and heard the chaunt of many 
voices, chaunting the requiem. I hast- 
ened forward and learnt from some of 
the attendants, that my lord had died 
abroad^ and that they were now interring 

th€ 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 71 

the remains, which had been brought 
over by Ascanio. I was at first stupified 
at the shock of such a desolation. The 
Countess, the children, my lord, wiihiii 
a few months!!! — I recovered a little — I 
wandered into the chapel — the service 
was over; the monks and attendants were 
dispersing ; most of the torches were ex- 
tinguished ; nothing was heard but the 
low, faint beat of the last bell — I ap- 
proached the bier, they had descended 
into the vault to prepare for its reception. 
I was alone, and longed for a last look 
of my master's face. As I bowed over 
the bier I thought the pall moved. — I 
retreated, but returned, and with a qui- 
Tering hand, withdrew it. — There was 
neither shrcud, nor cear cloth. I exami- 
ned it with astonishment ; there was no 
corse, nor any thing belonging to a corse 
within ; the bier was overspread with pall 
and vestment only. I replaced them, I 
heard the steps of attendants ascending 

from 



72 FATAL revenge; OR., 

from the vault — I retired/'— In vain I 
pressed Michelo for conjectures on this 
extraordinary circumstance — at length he 
said, '' sometimes I think Sign or, that if 
he be indeed dead, they have laid him in 
some remote and unhallowed place, and 
the poor wanderer comes here to seek 
rest among his ancestors, but cannot 
obtain it." A long pause followed this 
melancholy and unsatisfying solution. I 
recollected, that these circumstances must 
when they occurred, have caused some 
amazement, and I asked, had no doubts 
been suggested, no inquiries been made, 
had society slept over these marvels ? 

Michelo appeared lo enter on his nar- 
rative with fear. " Shortly after the.se cir- 
cumstances," said he, '"my lord, your fa- 
ther, retired to his estates in Apulia, where 
you, and most of your family were born. 
/ still resided in this castle, from which I 
brought my accounts to your father in his 
Apulian residence. About ten years ago, 

I set 



THE FAMILY OF MONTOIUO. 73 

1 set out on such a journey, in the close 
of autumn. As I was obliged to cross the 
Apulian mountains, 1 took care to provide 
me a host in that wild country, who, as 
is the custom there, shifted his hut and 
flocks, according to the vicissitude of the 
seasons. I expected to find him among 
the woody recesses of the mountains, but 
after wasting the evening in search of him, 
I at length directed my mule to the foot 
of the mountains, in hopes of meeting 
some other hut in which to pass the night. 
In the first I saw, a large company of 
peasants w^ere assembled round a blazing 
wood-fire; I joined them, and perceived 
my old host among them ; he was re- 
lating a marvellous tale, to w^hich I list- 
ened among the rest. It was wild and 
strange; it told of something that had 
been lately seen on the mountains, the 
terror of which had driven them together 
into the valley ; ichat it was, I could not 
comprehend; some described ita« a good, 
VOL. I, E ^omc 



74 FATAL revenge; or, 

some as an evil spirit ; some said it was 
a human creature like themselves, and 
some affirmed, that it pursued and scared 
travellers out of their senses, to drag 
them to its den, and prey on their bodies. 
In this discourse the night passed on, and 
when the flaggons were dry, and the em- 
bers low, we stretched ourselves on skins 
and leaves around it, to sleep. 

The strange tales I had heard, kept me 
for some time awake, and as the dying fire 
threw its red gleams around the hut, I 
almost fancied I saw shapes quivering in 
its light. At length, however, I com- 
mended my soul to the patron-saint of 
the mountain, and tried to rest, I heard 
a gentle noise at the door of the hut, as 
if the latch were raised and let down 
again ; I immediately roused, and just 
leaned up on one elbow; my head was 
full of what I had just heard, and I watched 
the door silently. In a few moments, it 
opened, and something appeared at it 
5 which 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. / O 

which, after a pause, entered the hut. 
When I beheld it, I conjectured at once 
it was the shape that was seen on the 
mountain. It was indeed ghastly and hor- 
rible, and as it moved, all by the dusky 
ember-light, surely it seemed like some- 
thing that had strayed from its prison- 
house of pain : I know not whether it was 
from curiosity, or the very extremity of 
my fear, but / disturbed no one, and it 
seemed to disregard vie. At length it 
drew near the fire, and began a low mut- 
tering sound, accompanied with strange 
gestures, and I, who began to fear it was 
busied in some witchery, dreaded that the 
hut and its inhabitants would in a moment 
be wafted into the air. However^ after 
some time, it rose and tottered out again, 
but after that, all the long night, as the 
blast came strong and loud from the 
mountains, such dolorous sounds were 
scattered on it as I could scarce think were 
uttered by a human voice. The next 



76 PATAL revenge; OHj 

tiiorning I concluded my journey.'' — '' And 
did no consequence or explanation follow 
all this ?" — '' Whenever after that I went 
into Apulia, Signor^ I was sure to hear 
the same tales repeated. It was about 
two years after that, passing over the 
mountains, I reached about the close of 
evening, a woody defile, thick and dark, 
with ash, and elm, and chesnut. As I 
entered it, I thought I heard a voice call 
on me; the sound was like no sound ever 
heard or uttered before. I turned, and 
saw approaching from behind, the very 
figure I had beheld in the woodland hut; 
my mule stopped — it approached, and 
uttered a sound that I thought resembled 
my name. It was dismal ; around me 
were the thick trees, and the light dimly 
appearing above their tops. I tried to 
rush into the wood, but my mule would 
not move. Istood trembling, and crossing 
myself, and now it came nearer, and now 
it was close to me. It spake; but the 

sounds 



THE 'FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 77 

sounds were wilder than the hovvl of wolves. 
Its language was all mows and chattering^; 
yet still it held me, and still seemed anx- 
ious for conference; I spoke, I know not 
what, in a pacifying tone> and I perceived, 
as my fear diminished, it became articulate. 
It spake at length in a kind of strange 
rhyme, which, though I did not under- 
stand, I cannot forget: among other 
things it said — 

There is anothor of us here, 

And we two dwell alone ; 
The raven that meets us, back doth fly, 
And the she-wolf looketh ghastily 

^^'hen she sees us by the moon. 

I now acquired some courage, and spoke 
to it rationally — but it interrupted me — - 

And will thou on ray errand go, 
Nor baffle me with mock and mow — 
Like the foul things, v/hose nightly nest 
Is in the cranny of my breast. — 
A fiery gush is in nny throat, 
And drowns confession's struggling note — • 

Thev 



78 FATAL revenge; or. 

They bind me stron;;^ with darkling spell, 

And what I wis — I may not tell — 

And oft I bid on errand go 

The leaf that falls, the gales that blow. 

'TJs in the roar of dark-brown flood — 

'Tis in the moan of wintry wood — 

And every form that nature wears 

Blairs it in burnish'd characters. 

And still no eye the tale can read, 

And still no tongue doth trump the deed — 

Still, till my ghastly tale is told, 

I scream a-night on wood aiKi wold. — 

When it had ceased^ it released me^ and 
1 sprung onward. But in a moment after- 
wai'ds it crossed me, and all (he live long 
night it beset me. Sometimes it would 
Cv-itcli wy rnulc's bridle, and sh^re ir^e- in 
the lace; anon it would be seen playing 
its goblin-gambols among the branches 
of the trees, from which it would drop 
down beneath my ^eet, and then, with a 
wild cry, bound away into the woods. I 
arrived^ spent, and breathless at a hamlet 
in the wood^, and" — '' But how can this 

contribute 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. / 9 

contribute to the explanation of any events 
that may have happened at the castle?" 
'' Paixlon the prolixity of an old man, 
Signor; if I do not tell events in the 
order they occurred to me, I shall be 
uaable to relate them at all. It is not Ion": 
now, since I sojourned for the last time, 
with my old host in the valley; I saw 
when I entered, he was bursting with 
fctrange intelligence, nor did I v/ait long 
for his informiation. ' Two nights ago,' 
said he. ' we heard a knockino: at the 
wicket of the hiit^ v/e were too much 
afraid of //^e vampire to open it ; hcv/ever, 
when the door zva-s opened in the morn- 
ing, 2/ was found extended before it, 
without sense or motion. When it was 
brought in, and revived, we began to 
mistrust that it was a human creature, and 
w^hen it was recovered, it addressed us 
in christian accents, and just like a chris- 
tian man, besought us for shelter and 
blessed charity, and talked like one that 

was 



80 i-'ATAL revekge; ok, 

was rccoTcring from a long trance, and 
beginning to feel human feelings about 
his heart agaiq. All that day he was faint 
and feeble, but still spoke in christian 
accents; but towards night, we somehow 
began to feel uneasy again, not knowing 
v/hat evil thing it might be, and fearful 
of some unknown mischief, we made a 
great fire, and sat round it all night, 
telling our beads, and watching as it lay ; 
it started and groaned often, but made 
Ho other movements all night. Towards 
morning it was still weaker, and it be- 
sought them for the love of the virgin, 
to send for some pious man, and have 
the offices of christian charity and grace 
done by it. They sent with all speed for 
a holy monk to a monastery in the moun- 
tains, and when he came^ he started at 
the sight of such an object, but on con- 
versing with him, and receiving clear and 
pious answers, he prepared to receive his 
confession, and administer the last rites. 

The 



THE FAMILY OF MONTOl^IO. 81 

The peasant and his family left the hiit^ 
and the monk and the dying man were 
left alone. They were shut up that day 
and evenino^, and when the old man re- 
turned, he was struck with terror at w^hat 
he beheld. The penitent had scarce a 
moment to live^ and the confessor ap- 
peared nearly in the same state. He held 
out the crucifix w^ith a tremblino- hand to 
the dying man, and the moment the breath 
left the body, he fainted. While they 
were using rrieans for his recoverv, he 
uttered some extraordinary words, which 
they believed referred to some terrible 
secret the confession had di^iciosed. When 
he recovered, he immediately prepared 
to return to the monastery, but a storm 
arose, that rendered it impossible for him 
to proceed. The monk was in an agony 
of solicitude; he stalked about the hut, 
and peeped from the casement, and at 
length demanded if the old peasant conld 
supply him with materials for writing; 
E 5 ' For 



82 FATAL revenge; OR, 

^ For if said he, ' the smallest article of 
what I am to attest, should escape, the 
consequences might be visited on me here- 
after.* — The materials were procured, the 
monk sat down, and wrote all night, often 
crossing himself, and dropping his pen, 
and then again compelling himself to pro- 
ceed. At length when he had finished 
his vmting, he set out to return to the 
monastery ; ' And we,' said the old man, 
' are preparing to follow him with the 
body for interment.' I inquired, was 
the body still under his roof, and hast- 
ened to the room where it was laid. I 
approached it in curiosity and fear, for 
I remembered our encounter in the forest, 
when no power could have persuaded 
me the being I saw was human. I bent 
over it; the distortion of filth, and famine, 
and madness, was on the countenance no 
longer. I viewed it; I could not credit 
my eyes; again I looked on it, and again; 
it was indeed the figure I had beheld in 

the 



THE FAMILY OF MONTOBIO, 8S 

the wood, and that figure^ Signor, was — 
Ascanio." — ''How, Michelo, who? — the 
confidential servant whom you mentioned 
in your former narrative/' — '' The same, 
Signor: in my late visits to Apulia, I had 
indeed observed Ascanio's absence, and 
heard the strange conjectures of the 
domestics/* — '' But then, Michelo, the 
monk and the secret subject of the con- 
fession — did nothing ever transpire ? are 
these intricacies to be without solution, 
and without end T' — " Peace be with the 
souls of the departed," said Michelo, 
crossing himself. '' Strange means, it is 
said, were employed to suppress that 
story. Shortly after my return to the castle, 
there was a kind of report, that the monk 
was in possession of some secret; dark and 
terrible, relating to the Family of Mon- 
torlo : it became an affair of public con- 
sternation and solicitude. The whole ter- 
ritory of Naples had their eyes fixed on 
the supposed movements of the monastery; 

it 



84 FATAL REVENGE ; ORy 

it was said, they ^vere preparing to divulge 
something to high authority, and that 
the monk who confessed the dying wan- 
derer v/as to have an audience of the 
Pope himself; others said, that he had 
never been himself since the confession, 
and that the subject of ii had been com- 
municated to the prior, who was to assume 
the conduct of the affair. At length it 
was certain, that the monk set out on a 
journey w^ith numerous attendants; that 
he seemed greatly agitated; that he tra- 
velled with extraordinary expedition; that 
he was often heard to say, (though in 
perfect health) he never would live to 
conclude the journey, and that after arriv- 
ing at an obscure inn oiT the road to Rome, 
he could be traced no further ; there was 
much inquiry and commotion about it. 
The host and his family were lodged in 
the Inquisition ; and several in the neigh- 
bouring village apprehended, and vast 
rewards offered for the smallest intelli- 
gence 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 85 

gence of the monk or of the documents 
that were supposed to be in his possession, 
when he disappeared. The prior of the 
convent, supported, it was said, by the 
enemies of the Family of Montorio, pur- 
sued the search with all the zeal and 
tenacity of an inquisitor; but th==' grave 
kept its secrets well. — Thus, Signor, the 
last remaining possibility of any intelli- 
gence relative to those events, was re- 
moved, and thus we remain, in ignorance 
and in fear." 

What passed through my mind, a m.o- 
ment after he ceased to speak, I will not 
dare to breathe even to you, Ippolito ; 
if you can discover it from the question 
I asked, you may. — " My father, was he 
much shocked at these events ?" — " He 
xvas much shocked at these events," said 
the old man, as if fearful of using any 
words but mine. 

" Perhaps," said I, '' his present gloomy 
dejection is owing to their preying on 

him 



86 FATAL revenge; or, 

him still;" — "I firmly believe," said Mi- 
chelo, " they continue o prey on him 
still." — There was a dreary pause; the 
bell tolled three; — " ^Tis late, Signor, 
we have wasted many hours in this me- 
lancholy conference ; permit me to see 
you to your chamber." — I rose almost 
unconsciously; the sound of what I had 
heard was yet in my ears, nor did it quit 
them after I retired to rest. 



CHAR 



1HB FAMILY P» MONTORIO, 87 



CHAP. VI. 



Attonltusque legK 



Terrai frugiferai.- 



It was not extraordinary that on Tppolito 
these letters should produce an effect 
merely slight and partial. His mind was 
not constructed to receive the impressions 
Annibal wanted to convey. That some 
strange obscurity had gathered over the 
fate of the late Count and his Countess, 
was plain from every part of the nan-ative; 
yet Ippolito, innocent and noble of mind, 

perused 



88 FATAL revenge; GR;, 

perused the letters, not with suspicion, 
but with curiosity; and in the avidity 
with which he read a narratioe ofxvondcrs, 
the observation (relative to his father*s 
concern in those transactions) v;hich had 
been suggested to the dark penetration 
of Annibal, was totally overlooked by his 
brother. His two predominant passions, 
love of the marvellous, and love of Iicroic 
adventure, inspired him with the thought, 
that some dark act of oppression or vio- 
lence had been committed, the unfolding 
of which was reserved for him ; and, as he 
thought, of relieving distress, or of vin- 
dicating virtue, his cheek glowed, and his 
frame mantled and dilated with generous 
enthusiasm. He was roused from his trance 
of heroism, by Cyprian, who invited him 
to their evening excursion. Ippolito, who 
was in that state of mind, which is pleased 
with itself and its purposes, complied ; and 
the smile which, as he assented, lit up his 
beautiful countenance, gave to it almost 

an 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 89 

an ans^el briofhtness and benionitv. From 
such an expression in Ippolito's face, Cy- 
prian was always observed to turn away 
abruptly and tremblingly. When that face 
was partially averted, he would view it, with 
such a fixedness, as if his very viind was 
eye ; when it w^as turned towards him with 
no marked expression, he would venture, 
timidly to look up; but when Ippolito 
smiled, Cyprian shrunk from him, with a 
sick and miserable delight, which was 
equally difficult to describe or account 
for. 

They set out. It was one of those 
evenings, of which it is difficult for one 
not conversant with Italian scenery and 
climate to imagine the beauty. There 
was a blaze of animated, but tranquil 
loveliness, diffused over earth, and sea, 
and sky ; there was a splendour which did 
not dazzle, a richness which did not satiate, 
there was not a cloud in heaven, not a 
dark spot on earth ; the eye wandered 

over 



90 FATAL RKVENGE ; OR, 

over an extent _cf view^ which its bright- 
ness made seem immeasurable, and rested 
on it with a fulness of complacency. The 
West, that presented a broad sweep of 
golden light ; the sea, that chequered the 
reflection by the heaving of its waters, 
and the gliding of its vessels; the wooded 
windings of the shore, and the promontories 
clothed in their most verdurous and lovely 
hues, endless variety of shape and shade, 
from the dark brown tufts, to the feathery 
spray, that quivered in the breeze, and 
aaniiii'ea rne blue sky through its fibres; 
the spires and palaces, whose glowing 
western fronts, shone like jasper and topaz 
in the setting sun — all these objects, 
seemed to produce a kind of visible har- 
moriy, as sensible to sight, as the mingled 
accordance of sounds to th^ ear. 

They ascended a path they knew, which 
conducted them to a recess, where sha- 
dowed by the arbutus and the mangolia, 
they sat, and surveyed the prospect. 

After 



THE fam#1y of montorio. 91 

After a silent pause — '' Tell me/' said 
Cyprian^ '^ What is necessary to form a 
poet, but to be conversant amid such 
scenery as this?" '^ Many things more 
are necessary," said Ippolito ; ^' labour, 
and art, and study, and knowledge, which 
must be supplied by experience, by ob- 
servation on the mixt forms of artificial 
life, and by those hereditary habits of as< 
sociation, both of sentiment and language, 
which must be acquired by an intimacy 
with the works of similar authors. He 
who exposes himself merely to the im- 
pressions of nature, will indeed acquire 
a sensibility of them, but it will be a sa- 
vage and bOlitary feeling, which cannot be 
embellished from want of internal cultiva- 
tion, and cannot be communicated, from 
w^ant of the aids and colourings of appro- 
priate language." '' Pardon me," said 
Cyprian, " your own observation seems 
favourable to me: you mention habits of 
hereditary association derived from one 

poet 



^2 FATAL REVENGE ,* OR, 

poet to another — that this is true I admit; 
and if it be true, it must follow that the 
first representations were distinguished by 
their fidelity and excellence; now the 
early poets must have copied from nature 
solely^ for society was in a crude and ele- 
mentary state, and of previous models tli^ 
first artists can have bad none/' 

" When I mentioned the early poets,'* 
said Ippolito, '' 1 did not mean the abo- 
rigines of Parnassus, the bards of savage 
tribes, as savage as they — whose effusions 
were oral and traditionary — I meant the 
poets of an age cultivated, but not so 
cultivated as our own. Nature must inr 
deed be the object of poetical represenrif- 
tion, but it must be nature modified and 
conformed io the existino- habits and taste 
of society." 

i( Were I a poet," said Cyprian, " I 
should invert your rule, and admit the in- 
fluence of prevailing manners into my 
strains, so far as they were conformable 

to 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 93 

to nature. From that species called pas- 
toral, for instance, I would banish that 
trim and fantastic garniture, which re- 
moves it from every thing with which the 
observation or fancy has ever held alliance. 
Shepherds laying aside all concern for the 
simple objects and pleasures of a pastoral 
life, to pursue their mistresses with speeches, 
which to them ouoht to be unaffectino; and 
unintelligible, expending a portion of time 
which rural life can seldom spare, to talk 
of pains and pleasures, which even refine- 
ment feigns to feel, and which here, there- 
fore, divest fiction of all imposing resem- 
blance to truth. All this I would exchange 
for the true and visible imagery of rural 
life: — For the little peasant boy chasing 
the fire-fly, or feeding the silk- worm, slum- 
bering in the shade at nocn, or led, in 
pursuit of some wanderer of the flock, to 
a scene of unexplored wildness, treading 
with rude awe where his steps are not 
echoed by a human sound, and gazing on 
2 views, 



94 FATAL revenge; or, 

views, which no eye^ save the eye of the 
lone genius of the place, had ever before 
beheld ; or touched with local and rural 
superstition, trembling* in moon-light or 
in storm, amid ruins, deemed the resort of 
beings not of this earth. Or^ if shep- 
herds must be in love, I would represent 
them loving like shepherds, v^ith simple 
fidelity, with unfastidious jealousy, with 
services such as pastoral life may require 
and receive, and with hopes of rustic enjoy- 
ment, such as labour may acquire, and sim- 
plicity relish. I am sure an assemblage of 
such imagery would give pleasure to those 
who love nature, and those who do not, 
might find at operas and carnivals, shep- 
herds and shepherdesses sufficiently courtly 
and unnatural." 

" You should study the poesy of the 
heretic English, as a penance for your 
own poetical heterodoxy," said Ippolito, 
'' though perhaps the task would harv-e 
little of penance in it. I have been 

acquainted 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 95 

acquainted some time with the chaplain 
of the English Embassy ; he is reckoned a 
man of literature in his own country^ and 
were he not a heretic, I should think him 
a man of sense and probity. He tells me, 
that (from the surly independence of the 
national spirit, from the roughness of the 
climate, or from a taste derived from their 
ancestry) there is a spirit in their poesy, 
quite different from that of the conti- 
nental. A simple appeal to the strong 
and common feelings of our nature, often 
made in such language as the speakers of 
common life clothe their conceptions in. 
Of this he describes the effect to be in- 
conceivable by a reader accustomed to 
the poetry of Italy. From their dramas 
and poems, remote and heroic adventures 
are almost banished, and they turn with 
more emotion to the indigent peasant, 
weeping over her famishing babes — to 
the maniac, who shrieks on the nightly 
waste — to age, pining in lonely misery — 

to 



96 FATAL REVENGE* OH; 

to honest toil crushed in the sore and 
fruitless struggle with oppression and ad- 
versity — than to the raving princess, or 
the declaiming hero. They have also a 
species of poesy among them, (unknown 
I believe to any but the northern nations 
of Europe,) which contributes to main- 
tain this taste — the traditionary tales of 
their ancestry, the rude chronicles of a 
bold and warlike people, of which the 
language is wild and peculiar even to the 
ears of its admirei's, from a kind of quaint 
and antique rhythm, which irresistibly as- 
sociated in the minds of the hearers, with 
the thoughts of times long past, with 
melancholy and awe-breathing remem- 
brances. Ihese are the ballads of the 
West and North of Europe ; they are set 
to a simple and monotonous melody, and 
chaunted with enthusiasm. 

" There is a nation of people wild and 
little known, in a Western island, whose 
national poetry is still richer^ and whose 

harnjony 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 97 

harmony is said to be more melting than 
that of the English — I have forgot their 
name, but of a people so endowed, the 
name will not be always obscure. The 
little poem I am about to read to you, 
relates the actions of a rude chiefcain of 
that country/' 

Bruno-Lin, the Irish Ontlcacr' 
A. D. 1302. 



Bru NO-LIN awoke in the night, 
He griped his mace, and he rouscd his might, 
He deemed it long till his followers all 
V.'ith food and plunder filled his hall.— 

•* The subject of the follov.-ing lines was taken from a 
note on a Poem, from which it is an honour to borrow a hint 
however slight or remote. It is perhaps the only merit of 
this trifle that it was suggested on reading a passage in *' The 
Lay of the Last Minstrel," It is lamented that the scenery 
of this Ballad is so topical, that whoever has not been 
in Ireland, can scarce read it with pleasure ; whoever has, 
will not be sorry to think again of the ruins of Melik, 
and the waters of the Shannoi). — Bruno-Lin, (or Bryan-o- 
Lin, as he is sometimes called), is a Chieftain still famous 
in the memory of Irish song. 

VOL. I, r His 



98 FATAL revenge; ok. 

His followers food and plunder sought 
From ^\arded tower to hurdled cot — 
A band of blood — They raised the spear, 
And never a foeman stood anear. — 
A band of blood — They laid them down 
And there was not a meal for four miles round. 

Where saintly peace at Melik* dwells, 
They burst the convent's seared cells.; 
And broke the pix at altar's base. 
And flung the wine in the Sacristan's face. 

He griped his mace with a grimly smile, 
(Hard to lift, and heavy to feel. 
Banded with brass, and studded with steel) 
The moon shone thro' a rift the while. — 
He griped it, and swore by Mary^s migh t, 
To go and meet the traveller- wighU— 

Bruno. Lin he left his tower 

All in the mirk and midnight hour, 

Through mossy bog, and matted brier,. 

He sprung with the speed of fairy fire, 

Nor rested till his firm step stood 

Where foids + dispart the wandering flood. 

* Melik, an Abbey, whose beautiful ruins a: e yet extant 
on the banks of the Shannon, where it flows between Gal- 
way and Leinster, 

f Fords of Melik. 

O'er 



THE FAMILY OF MONTOKIO. 9^ 

O'or Shannon's broad and bridgelesa btrcam, 
Was passage else nor far nor near — 
Through buttrcsb'd arch, and shadowy pier, 
In its dark blue wave, now frequent gleam. 

He leaned with his mace on the red -moss stone, 

And watched for the step of traveller lone. 

— Was not a sound to stir the ear — 

— Was not a form that thought could fear — 

The owlet slept in tufted nest; 

The river's ripplings whispered — rest. 

The ear might list, till murmurs still 

Of unheard sound the sense did fill. — 

The eye might gaze, till forms of night 

'Gan quiver in the misty sight. — 

The breathless calm of the lone hour 
Held o'er his soul unwonted power. — 
Bruno cursed the stilly nighf, 
And waved his mace, to wake his might — 
He would rather hear the tempest rave, 
And shout to the toss of the crested wave. — ■ 

A step — he lurks behind the stone; 

A step — he comes — the traveller lone.— 

It was a knight of moody mien, 
His hand unglaised, his lance in rest ; 
His barded steed scarce felt the rein, 
His footing stint the stirrup prcsa'd. — 

r ^ Thrice 



100 FATAL revenge; OR^ 

Thrice as his step the brink assay'd, 
A voice of woe did sweep the stream ; 
And thrice beneath the moon's wan beam 

A bloody stain the waves embayed. 

Bruno rushed from his trysting place, 
And dashed in the courser's front his mace — • 
In bone and brain the iron stood, 
Reek'd to its base both spike and stud— 
The mad steed bounding with the pain 
Rose like a meteor in the air, 
Left in sore plight his rider there, 
And plunged into the flood amain. — 

Bruno rushed on the struggling wight. 
And bore him to the earth outright : 
On ringing plate, and riven mail, 
The massive mace did bound like hail. 
He cannot rise, he cannot breathe- — 
His lance is locked, his sword in sheathe ; 
prom gash and rent the life-blood flows. 
And faint and short his struggling grows : 
His quivering head, and stark-swoln breast 
The chase of hunted life confest — 
" Lay me on Melik's holy shore !'' 
His last prayer sped— he breathes no more. — 

Three paces backward Bruno strode, 
And on the corse did sometime gaze ; 

Then 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 104 

Then in his arms assayed to raise — 

And felt it uas a dead -man'' s load. — 
He rent the mail from his bleeding breast, 
He rent the gems from his plumed crest : 
The shield from his left arm unwrcathed. 
And half the burnislied brand unsheathed : 
But he would not the visor's band unbrace, 
For he cared not to look on the dead man's face; 
He heaps the spoil on the red-moss stone, 
And lists for the step of traveller lone. 

He comes — a lone and lowly wight, 
Scant was his speed— and vilde his plight: 
He is y'douned in dusky weeds. 
And loud, as he goes, he tells his beads. — 
Bruno 'sdeigned, this enemy 
^Vith crafl, or weaponed might assail. 
Or mell in perilous battaile ; 
So forth he strode, and bad him *^ die.'* 
'' For Christ's bless'd mother spare my blood ; 

I do not plead for craven life ; 

'Tis for a soul's most precious strife ; 
By Him who died on holy rood. — 

Warrior — I held a wide domain. 
Iron portals fenced my keep, 
Mailed warders watched my sleep : 

Warrior — I led an hardy train^ 

This 



102 FATAL REVEN^GE; 6Ti, 

This hand, that marshalled my bold crew 
In the fell foray of the Pale, 
Armed with glaive of iron scale. 

This hand an only brother slow !— 

Oh, what shall give a murderer rest ! 
Still, still I feel the worm within, 
Still burns the unquenched fire for sin — 

And I have roamed from east to west. 
Full fifty choirs their requiems raise; 
On fifty shrines the tapers blaze, 
T^c?n fifty priests do Vvatcli by night 
With missal chaunt, and taper'd rite ; 
O'er flourished cross, and irophicd tombj 
His banner waves in warlike gloom, 
And bells shall toll— till day of doom. — 

Oh, what shall give the murderer rest ! 
I feel th' undying worm within, 
■Still burns th' unquenched fire for sin, 
And I have roamed from east to west. 

Aid from each sainted name I crave, 
From cloistered tower to Eremite's cave ; 
To stone and well I ceacclcss wend, 
At cross and cairn my head I bend ; 
I've knelt and wept from morn to morn, 
My knees are stone, mine eyes are horn — - 



All 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 103 



f penanced lore, the retle "^ 

relic, and charmed bead, > 
prJc, and pilgrim weed. J 



All vain of penanced lore, the rede 
Kite, and 
And vigil p: 

And now wilh faltering step I go — 
These costly gifts shall Melik gain, 
To the last rood of my domain — 

(The dark licnd doth beset me so) 
Peace to the parted soul to win 
Or free the living soul from sin. 

Warrior — for grace thy iireapon sheathe, 
So may thy last prayer gracious be, 
So may thy soul part peacefully, 
So may it triumph gloriously ; 

Nor plunge a soul unbless'd in death.-' — 

Bruno scarce marked his woful tale; 
Small was his wreck of penance — rede 
Scant was his ruth of saintly weed : 

** Pilgrim, a shorter shrift shall 'vail. 
If without book thou kno\rcst a prayer, 
Address thee, for thy corse lies thcie." 
Sore strove the man in agony J 

But Bruno wrenched him without toil, 

Like tufted weed from mossy soil, 
And plunged him in the darksome waste — 
And still his death-cry swcll'd the blast > 

« Might 



104 FATAL REVENGl!:; GE, 

" Might I but reach the shadowed sjiire, 
Within its shadow but expire" — — ■ 
Till the dark waters quench'd his cry. 
Then Bruno from his scrip 'gan pour 
Pix, and chalice, and taper high, "^ 

And rood, and altar's imager}', > 

And vase, and ve^t for sacristy, j 

Of monkish wealth, a goodly store: 

lie heaped them on the mossy stone — • 
'V^ails not to tell, how many a wight 
Bowed beneath his mace that night; 
* Vails not to tell, how, rich foray 
With dint of perilous assay 

Was won that night from traveller lone. 

Biuno homeward now doth wend, 

His prey around him heavy iiung; 
Beneath a part his shoulders bend. 

Part in his mantle broad he Hung, 
And some was tied to his mace's end. 

Home he wends with footsteps \\ight, 
'I he moss beneath his backward tread, 

Scant bow'd his lithe and limber head : 
When lo — a meteor flames his tower, 
Bright as the beam from faery bower 

When wanderers,— mark oVr wat'ry Strath, 

How burns the Elfin's taper'd path — 

So shoiie that bright and wonderous light. — 

Swift 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 10 J 

Swift he comes — his followers all 
With feast and foray had filled his hall. 
'J'here was note of boasting loud, 
Pointing to prey, and staunching of blood, 
Till Bruno check'd the wasscl rude. 
His eye was lit with high disdain, 
As he threw the predc upon the ground -^ 
And leant on his mace with idlesse stound, C 
All-while his followers gazed it round : 1 

Then sudden with a startled mien — 

'' Who lapped our keep in nightly fire ? 
On towery ridge of castled wall. 
Bartizan and beacon-spire, 
Casement arch, and arrow loop. 
And grated cleft and chink withal j 
A flood of sheeny flame did tower — 
When, as I entered, all was mirk/' 
None the cause could rode, I trow. 
Much they mus'd, and murmur'd low : 
*' The lonely taper that iiglUsour hall, 
Gleams in a crevice of the wall ; 
Not broader seen than Mclik's spire, 
O'er Shannon's far and moon-light wave/' 

Eut soon they started from moody stound^ 

And as they bask round ruddy fire, 

Gibe, and jest, in gamesome sort, 

With the wide wassel cup went round — 

r 5 'When 



106 iPATAL revenge; or. 

When hark ! — when hark ! • 

A blow upon the barred door ! 

The band, — each drew his un wiped dirk, 
Indrew with quivering lip his breath, 
And starting, grasped the board unneath, 

And glanced around the hollow eye. 
When louder, as of iron stave, 
On boss and bar, the smiting rung — 

The boldest of the revcr's train. 
Pressed on his lip his wary hand, 
Seized with shortcn'd gripe his brand, 
And went — but ne'er returned again. 

Loud and more loud the smiting grew, 
As bar and bolt in splinters flew : 
Another goes — his mazed feere 

With ear that faltered on the sound, 
Listened as down the stair he wound ; 
But thence nor voice nor step could hear — 

Loud and more loud the smiting grew— 
Others still, and others went — 
Bruno sat in his lonely selle — 
He heard his band, as one by one 
They trod the winding stair of stone; 
Adowii the footing, hard and dank, 
He heard their sandals' iron clank ; 
He heard them reach the arched door, 
But thence nor step, nor voice heard more. 



Was 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 107 

Was nigh him now, nor friend nor fecre — 
Lonely thought his heart 'gan quell, 
His proud eye 'vailed its hardiment : 

As slow he rose^ and now through mist 
Of umber'd arch the door mote see, 
He^iga'd the cross, which he deemed a spell. 
And faltered a broken Ave-Maric. — 

Untouched — the door far backwards flew. 
What shapes are they — through mist and fog 

Now dimly seen, now sudden lost, 
That lap in flame the fenny bog. 
And distant now, and now anear, 
Edge the dark lining of the cloud. 
Sweep in dim march the heathy hill, 
And now below in darkling dell, 
Mantle the toothed and matted briar 

With ridgy head, and spiky hand, 
Talon and fang, of fringed fire — 
All instantly and visibly ' 

Shapes, now sheeted inpaley fire, 

Tbat shimmer like the moon-shine frost. 

Now embound in flaky gyre 

Of eddying flame, whose high career 
Whirls them round with waftage loud — 
While through its bickering volumes still, 

Fitful gleam'd the shadowings blue, 

In 



108 FATAL revenge; or^ 

In umbered skull, of flamy eyne, 
Like steely studs in Morion dun, 
Or tombed tapers sapphire sheen, 
Or carbuncle in ebony. 

The sight was drear — but Bruno bold 

Had deemed it but some pageant strange, 
Play'd by the quaint and antic sprites 
Through fog and fen that darkling range, 
Till 'mid the ghostly rout he knew 
The shadowed forms of those he slew. 

Stern scowl'd the knigJtt — his rifted mail 

Disclosed his body gashed and bi\re : 

Wan gleamed the penitent ?>o pale, 

And signed a shadowy cross in air : 

And far, far off in cloudy sail 

Other and sadder shapes were there. — 
Forward — the gasted murderer fled. 
Mid horror's pith to plunge his head. 
Even in that dread and darkling hour, 
His soul's first impulse urged its power. 

Forward — his thoughts unbidden tend ; 

Forward — his steps unconscious bend. — 

While as he turned his scared eye, 

31e sees athwart the reddening sky, 

i'he spectre-cloud, in folding fires 

Enwrap his castle's smouldering spires — 

Giant-shapes of warlike sheen 

Grasping 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 109 

Grasping what seemed dart and spear : 
And sulphurous lightning's streamy lance, 
O'er crested tower their wild forms rtar, 
And mouths of other than earthly mould 

(Gleaming through the casements barr'd, 

Or o'er the portal battle-scarred) 
Through ebon horns rung war-notes bold — 

And every hue and tint so pale 
Shone out in that unearthly light ; 
Shadowy stole and form of mist, 

Flar'd like the sunny chrysolite, 

Ruby or opals argent mail, 

And emerald, and amethyst. — 

Onward iheghasted murderer rushed, 

Till Shannon's dark wave checked his flight : 

Onward the tiery fabric urged, 

And as he turned with hurrying tread, 
Still seemed to toppie o'er his head. 
Still voU^ing, on the sulphured gale 
Came skriek, and gibber, and ghost-like wail 

Like stripes, his il}ing steps that scourg'd. 

The river's depths lay dark in night — 
And his broad Mirfacc, still and clear. 
Gave b.ick no gijam of unbless'a light. 

He paused a moment in breathless fear — 
Then with a cry, (whose nightly yell 

on 



1 10 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

Oft sweeps its stream, as legends tell) 

He plung'd beneath — the winds are whist — 

The echoes sleep — and all is hush'd. 

" I confess/' said Cyprian, " in these 
I find a pleasure, which I seek in vain 
amid the sententious and cold concetti of 
our poetry. Would I were one of the 
Arxadi, or of those whose eminence in 
the literary world enables them to extend 
their influence to the arts." '' Why should 
you wish for that influence, and how 
would you employ it ?" said Ippolito. " I 
should wish for it/' replied Cyprian, '' be- 
cause the connexion between literature 
and the arts is intimate and inseparable ; 
I would therefore make each the channel 
of reciprocal improvement to the other. 
How rauch more striking would the effect 
be, if instead of the stiff figures of our 
drama, coming forward in modern habili- 
ments to warbje modern music, contrast- 
ing instead of representing the classic or 
romantic characters whose names they 

usurp 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 1 1 1 

usurp — the bard of those distant days and 
regions you have described^ should appear 
with the rude and flowing drapery, the 
harp of bold^ unmeasured song, the 
themes of old and wondrous story ; and 
all amid scenes suited to his character; 
not among the glare of artificial lights and 
picturings, but amid rocks and ruins, the 
murmurs of waters, and the tremblino^s of 
moon-light. I have mentioned only one 
character, but might there not be a thou- 
sand others, and all with the appropriate 
melody of their age and nation, simple^ 
or rude, and wild, as they might be, but 
all rendered more interesting by remem- 
bered and heart-touching association, than 
the most scientific strains uttered by mo- 
dern harmonists .?" 

'' And how would you contrive/' said 
Ippolito, '' to extend a similar improve- 
ment to the department of painting ?" 

'' Oh V said Cyprian, '' that mute lan- 
guage whose powers I am convinced are 

yet 



112 FATAL KEVENGE ; OR, 

yet unexplored, that language now only 
intelligible to the eye, I would te.ich to 
speak to the very soul. Instead of copy- 
ing the colouring of one artist, the design 
of another, the trees, and the sun-light, 
and the ruins, that afe handed down from 
age to age, with mechanical improvement 
and imitation that excludes originality — 
I would have the painter look around life, 
and within himself; I would have him 
copy from nature in a state of motion, 
from existing life ; from those forms and 
shades of manner and feeling, which are 
in a perpetual state of animated fluctua- 
tion around us, more numerous, more 
varied^ and more vivid than they could 
have been, from the unimproved state of 
sociely, in the time of the elder masters : 
I would make all my figures, characters, 
and ail my groups circumstantial and nar- 
rative. But for sensible representation, 
it is better to furnish example than argu- 
ment. I saw a painting by an obscure 

master. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 113 

master; the subject was common; it was 
the interment of a corse; it was the mo- 
ment after the vault was closed : from the 
devices I conjectured it was the burial of 
a young person, and from the counte- 
nance of an old man (who assumed no 
particular attitude) I was convinced it 
was his only child. Over the face of the 
priest was spread a chaste and holy sad- 
ness, such as men may be supposed to 
fee], to whom the fixed hope of a better 
life, have made the inflictions of this of 
light and trivial avail. But the wretched 
parent was bowing to the priest, for having 
performed the last rites ; was thanking 
him with the humility of courteous misery^ 
for having for ever removed from him his 
last earthly stay and hope. There was 
something in the expression of the old 
man, thus trying to work features, con- 
vulsed with anguish, into a gentle smile, 
to blend the duties of the moment with 
the wrung feelings of the parent, and not 
5 forget 



114 FATAL revenge; or^ 

forget the decencies of grief, amid its 

stings and bitterness 1 cannot express 

myself, but I looked at the other contents 
of the gallery with sufficient tranquillity. 
Such are the subjects I would introduce 
or search for, in every effort of mind or 
of taste; and to every subject, mental or 
artificial, I would attach its appropriate 
features of scenery and character/' 

" And with the present scene, what 
group would you associate?'' said Ippolito. 
Cyprian paused. '* What if I were to 
take the pencil from you, and become an 
artist in your new school. I feel the in- 
spiration coming: let me try — shall I 
sketch a XilxX^y friendly, monitory sylph, 
soliciting with gentle art, a giddy, grace- 
less wanderer, from a vitiated sensibility 
of pleasure, and recalling him to those 
pure and innocent enjoyments which he 
blushes to have forsaken so Ions:." 

'' Oh, my master, my beloved master !" 
said Cyprian, " look forth, and wonder 

that 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 1 15 

that you ever forsook them. This dim 
light that veils from us the forms and 
colours of the earth, gives to the sky a 
dense and sombrous majesty^ v/hich I love 
better than the bright blue of noon, or 
even the amber-glow of sun-set. See the 
high arch of heaven, above our heads, 
how vast, how spacious, without a star, 
and without a cloud. There is something 
in its aspect of calm stability and im- 
mutable duration. It stands in its strength, 
and its silence tells of eternity.'* 

'' And see far off, just over Capri," said 
Ippolito, '' where the sky is of a paler 
blue, one little twinkling star of silver 
lire; and above it, the moon, with her 
slant crescent, slowly coming up. Does 
she not seem like a bark of pearl, floating 
on the deep, dark blue ocean. x\nd see, 
while we speak, ten thousand stars are 
bursting into brightness. There is my 
natal Saturn — just where I point; how 
wan he looks to-night ; oh, for a mental 

telescope 



116 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

telescope to read the characters inscribed 
on that dark speck!" He mused, and Cy- 
prian observed with anguish the change 
on his countenance, '' Observe," said he, 
recovering himself, " in this deep silence 
of the nighty the distinctness of the most 
faint and distant sound. Listen to that 
bell from the city ; I think I could tell 
the very convent from which it sounds : 
how solemn it swells on the air — it is n 
death-bell/* 

*^ Peace to the parting soul — oh, it 
gazes on this scene with other eyes," said 
Cyprian, crossing himself. 

" Yes, in a moment, how changed its 
views, its capacities, its range of existence 
and motion," said Ippolito, ^'^ from the 
dark, narrow bed of suffering, where all 
of nature that was admitted, was the sickly 
light that struggled with the watch-taper — 
in a moment, to see with a spirit's bright 
and boundless view, r.ll nature, with her 
worlds and her systems, her laws, her 

causes. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 117 

causes, and her motions; yea, and the 
mighty Mover himself! Oh, wonderful!" 

" And thither shall we follow ; though 
not now, we shall be there in a space, 
w^hich to the duration of that v. orld, is as a 
moment," said Cyprian, '' and be assured, 
that these cool and healthful moments of 
reposing thought, snatched from the fe- 
vering turmoils of the world, will have an 
effect that shal' not be unfelt or forgotten 
there. There the best hours of our lives 
are numbered and valued, and the best of 
our hours, I believe, are passed amid the 
stillness of nature, and the silence of 
thought/'' 

They descended, and returned to Na- 
ples. 



CHAP. 



118 FATAI, revenge; ORj 



CHAP. VIL 



The influence which in these conference^ 
Cyprian had obtained over the mind ol 
Ippolito, was singular and powerful. Th< 
obscurity of his introduction^, the pecu- 
liarity of his manners, gave even a hover- 
ing shade of awe to impressions^ of which 
the character had otherwise been faint 
and fugitive. Not of a sex to inspire 
love^ and still too female-like for the solid 
feelings of manly friendship, Cyprian ho- 
vered round his master, like his guardian 
sylph, with the officiousness of unwearied 
zeal, and the delight of communicated 
purity. 

On 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 119 

On their return to Naples^ Cyprian ob- 
served, that a length of time elapsed be- 
fore Jppolito joined him, though they had 
quitted the carnage together, and when 
he did appear, that his aspect was strange 
and altered. It wore an expression of 
ghastly wonder. His lips were white, and 
his eye vacant. He addressed abrupt in- 
quiries to the servants, with the air of a 
man who wishes to satisfy his curiosity, 
without betraying the object of it ; but 
from them he learned nothing. They 
" had seen no shape,'' they " had heard 
no sound," and Ippolito's inquiries seemed 
suddenly checked by something more than 
the difficulty of satisfying them. Shortly 
after, Jppolito retired to dress for an as- 
sembly, and Cyprian to his closet, where, 
m his master's absence, he was constantly 
employed in writing, and where (some 
whom the prying habits of an Italian ser- 
vant had induced to watch him, declaredj 
that) he gave himself up to emotions so 

ten-ible, 



120 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

terrible, they wondered so delicate a 
frame could support them. 

When Montorio returned, his valet was 
summoned to attend him alone. His ca- 
binet was contiguous to Cyprian's, who 
obeying an impulse, which his concern for 
his master justified to himself, listened at 
a partition, in a state of solicitous feeling, 
which the low, broken sounds, that issued 
at intervals through it, irritated instead 

of appeasing. At times, the words 

" strange" — " fearful" — '' terrible" — and 
every expression of painful wonder met 
his ear. Some observation was then made 
by the servant, of a tendency apparently 
palliative or explanatory, to which Ip- 
polito answered with solemnity : " Impos- 
sible ; if I have life and sense 1 saw it — 
three times to-night, distinct and terrible." 

A sentence followed from the servant, 
which, partly from the stretch of most 
painful attenticr;, and partly from the 
answer, Cyprian conjectured to be an 

inquiry 



THE FAMILY OF MONTaRIO. 12 1 

inquiry about some form or shape. It 
%vas followed by some imperfect answer 
from Ippolito, but of which Cyprian could 
not discover whether the imperfection 
arose from the form being too obscure or 
too horrible for description. 

The conference ceased, and Cyprian 
had scarce time to sit down to his papers, 
which he turned over with shaking hands, 
and a vacant eye, when Montorio entered 
the room. He stalked about for some 
time gloomily, then like one who wakens 
slowly from an oppressive dream, he 
gazed around him, and sighed heavily. 
Cyprian, who wished to ascribe to himself 
-the uneasiness that prevailed, lest he 
should irritate a disturbed spirit, said 
timidly, " I have been writing, since you 
told me of the English poetry, and this 
has been the cause of all tlti^ foolish em- 
bari^assinent ; I was anxious and ashamed 
to shew it to you." He held out a paper, 

VOL. I. r, ' which 



12 J FATAL REVENCE; OR, 

tvhich Ippolito took with a listless hand, 
and while he read it, Cyprian watched his 
^countenance with an emotion, the fate of 
his poetry did not excite. 



The Lady and her Page. 
I. 

It was a sweet and gentle hour, 

'Twas the night of a Summer day, 
When a lady bright, on her palfrey white, 

Paced across the moorland grey. 

11. 

And oft she checked her palfrey^s rein, 

As if she heard footsteps behind, 
^Twas her heart of fear that deceived her car^ 

And she heard but the passing wind. 

III. 

There trips a page, that lady beside, 

To guide the silken rein. 
And he holds up there, with duteous care, 

Xier foot-cloths sweeping train. 

IV. 



THE FAMILY OP MONTORIO. 123 

IV. 

And that page was a knight — who in menial plight, 

For love of that stately dame, 
Long served at her board, though a high-bom lord. 

And a foe to her father's name. 

V. 

Across the haze, there streamed a pale blaze. 
And the page's cheek blanched with fear ; 

*' Oh, see, lady, see! — at the foot of yon tree, 
The blue fire that bums so clear. 

VI. 

*' 'Tis the prince of the night, 'tis the elfin sprite, 

With his ghostly revelry : 
Sweet lady stand, with this cross in thine hand, 

Or thou and I must die. 

VII. 

*' For as legends tell, an unseen spell « 

Doth screen him from mortal wound. 

Unless the steel be dipped in a well 
That holy wall doth bound." 

VIII. 
Sad was her heart when she saw her page part, 

And she feared she would see him no more, 
For in secret long, her soul was wrung 

With a love that ne'er trembled before. 

G 2 IX. 



124? FATAL revenge; ORj 

IX. 

Oh! what is the sound seems to come from the 
ground , 

And now sweeps along on the air 

She dared not to look, for with terror she shook, 

And she tremblingly murmured a prayer. 

X, 

And o*cr the dun heath, a balmy breath 

Stole like roses and violets sweet. 
And the lavender blue, all dropping with dew, 

Strewed the ground at that lady's feet. 

XL 
** Fair maiden come, to our twilight home. 

Where we'll sport so merrily ; 
The glow-worm by night, shall lend us her light. 

As we dance round the grey ash-tree. 

XIL 

" Or with unwet wings, we'll sport in the springs 

That roll far beneath the sea ; 
Or to the bright moon, we'll fly as soon 

If my love thou wilt deign to be." 

XIII. 

Askance she gazed — and her eye she raised — 

A youth stood timidly nigh, 
And of a truth, 'twas as lovely a youth 

As ever met maiden's eye. XIV. 



niE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 125 

XIV. 

Ills tresses brown, that came mantling down, 

Seemed his snowy neck to veil ; 
And with chrysolite eyes, his wings' crimson dyes 

Were starred like the peacock-tail. 

XV. 
His eye was bright, as the north-streamerb' light, 

But his cheek was sad and pale ; 
And the lines of care that were written there, 

A spirit might read and wail. 

XVI. 

But his sky-tinctured vest to his eye-lids was prest, 
And his heart seemed bursting with woe, 

And the white, white rose that wreathed his brows 
Seemed pale and paler to grow. 

XVII. 

** I've watched thee late and early, 

I've watched thee night and day, 
IVe loved thee, lady, dearly. 

With a lovG that can never decay. 

XVIII. 
'' I've heard thy sleeping sigh, lady, 

I've heard thy waking prayer, 
No mortal foot was nigh, lady, 
But I was weeping there, 

XIX. 



136 FATAL hevekge; or, 

XIX. 

** With an eye that no thought can deceive, lady, 
I've seen love sweetly stealing on thee ; 

I know that young bosom can heave, lady, 
And shall it not heave for me." 

XX. 

The lady stood — and her unchilled blood 

Gave her lip its warmest hue ; 
But the cross to her breast, was fervidly prest 

And still her heart was true. 

XXI. 

** Yet rest thee here, oh ! lady dear, 

And my minstrel spirits gay, 
With harp and lute, and fairy flute 
• Shall play thee a roundelay." 

XXII. 

All was hushed and still, on the elfin hill. 
All was hushed in the evening vale, 

Not a whisper was heard, not a footstep stirred, 
Not an aspen-leaf shook in the gale. 

XXIII. 

Then soft and slow, a note of woe 

Came far on the breathless air ; 
Twas wild as the strain of the mermaid train, 

When they're combing their yellow hair. 

XXIV. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 12T 

XXIV. 
Twas wild as the dirge, that floats on the surge, 

The mariner's lonely grave 

All-whiic mortals sleep, they sing and they weep, 

And they glide on the moon-light wave. 

XXV. 

Then it rose rich and high, like the chaunt of joy, 
That breathes round the hermit-bower ; 

When cherubim bright leave their mansions of joy 
To soothe his dying hour. 

XXVI. 

Oh ! how the heart beat of that lady sweet, 
But her heart did not beat with fear. 

The strain so wild, her senses had guiled, 
And she loved though she trembled to hear. 

XXVII. 

But who is he that flics, with his soul in his eyes, 
Wide waving a fauichion of steel ? 

By the flush on her cheek, ere a word she could 
speak, 
A nursling babe might tell. 

XXVIII. 

(Twas an urchin-sprite, in the guise of her knight, 

'Twas a wile of the elfin king. 
And the vision so quaint, in form and in teint, 

Her soul to her cheek did bring). 

XXIX. 



1^8 FATAL REVENGE ; OR^ 

XXIX. 

** Hushed, hushed, be your fear, for your true 
knight is here, 

With the brand that liis patron saint gave, 
No eliin wight may dare its might, 

For 'tis dipped in St. Angelo's wave. 

XXX. 

*' And the cowled friar, and convent quire, 

Are waiting our nuptials to say ; 
Haste, lady, haste, for the night's fading fast, 

And the eastern cloud is grey. 

XXXI. 

'* But give me the cross that's hid in thy breast, 

And give me the' rosary too, 
And Fl] lead thee o'er the perilous moor, 

On the faith of a knight so true." 

xxxn. 

Oh, she gave up the cross that was hid in her breast,' 

And she gave up the rosary too — 
As he grasped them, he frowned, and he smote the 
ground, 

And out rushed the elfin crew. 

XXXIIl. 

And the goblin rout gave a maddening shout, 
And danced lound them in many a wild ring, 

And 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 129 

And the slender waist of that lady chaste. 
Was clasped by the elfin king. 

XXXIV. 

All loose was her hair, and her bosom was bare, 
And his eye it glared fierce and bold, 

And her wan lip he pressed, and her shuddering 
breast, 
And he grasped her locks of gold. 

XXXV. 

But instant a blow made the caitiff forego 

His gripe of that victim fair. 
And deadly he groaned, as he shrunk from the 
wound, 

And phantom crew vanished in air. 

XXXVI. 
*' I've saved thee, my love, by help from above, 

I've saved thee from mortal harms," 
And no word she spoke, but she gave him a look. 

And sunk in her frwe-knight's arms*. 



This poem was communicated by a friend. 

G 5 IppolitOj 



f30 FATAL revenge; ORj 

Ippolito, though he perused these lines 
with the apathy of one occupied by other 
thoughts^ still seemed anxious to escape 
from them, by tenaciously seeking em- 
ployment. He snatched up the papers 
that lay before Cyprian, and vehemently 
began to peruse them. Cyprian, all agi- 
tation, rose, and besought him to restore 
them. — " They are not to be read/' — 
" You increase my anxiety to examine a 
composition that is written— «o/ to be 
read,'' said Ippolito, with a languid smile, 
*' They must not be read by you — to you 
they can afford no pleasure ; they are a 
simple tale of woman's love^ and we men 
believe that women cannot love ; it is a 
tale not to be told in an hour of levity, or 
when an intercourse with the light, cold 
characters of the world has hardened the 
heart, and made it slow to believe, that 
there ore beings, who only live to feel, 
and who have died of feeling. Choose 
somjp other hour, and bring with you 

another 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 131 

another heart. I shall make no demands 
of outrageous sympathy, for I know that 
the subject is removed too far from the 
world's line and topic of feeling, to ex- 
pect it. Nor do I think that real suffering 
ever sought relief, but in the patience of 
unanswering belief This is all 1 would 
ask, but this I fear I would ask in vain at 
such an hour from you." — " Cyprian,'* 
said Montorio, touched by his words, '' the 
frivolity in which you see me immersed, 
is artificial and irksome ; I have a heart 
capable of passion, but the object capa- 
ble of inspiring it, I yet seek in vain. 
It is but a little while since I entered 
society, with feelings ardent in youth, 
and exalted by hope — those feelings are 
repelled, crushed, almost extinguished. 
I submit to a pitiful compromise with 
the depraved system of society; I trifle 
with the triflersofthe day, and languish 
even for the refreshing hope of imaginary 
excellence. AR who are beautiful, I can 

admire. 



132 

ndmire; her only, who can love, can / 
love.*' — He clasped his hands, and threw 
up his dark, ardent eye to heaven, and 
stood with the look and energy of inspi- 
ration. — '' If such a being ever existed/* 
said Cyprian, " there is her history." — 
" And is she yet alive," said Ippolito, 
'' and is she to be found ?" — " No ; she 
lives no more, she has passed away, as 
few have perished, without note, and 
without remembrance. All that loves to 
cling round the image and memoi*y of 
ihe dead, has forsaken her; she perished 
without a tear, without a memorial, with- 
out a grave ! 

" This is a narrative of thoughts, not of 
circumstances — no ear heard, and no eye 
saw her sufferings ; and never did the 
subject of her sole thought enter into the 
thought of another. It is necessary be- 
fore 1 begin to read these fragments, to 
mention to you, that the writer was 
young in years and in sentiment ; the 

very 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. ] 33 

very child of simplicity and enthusiasm ; 
an union not impossible in young minds. 
She entered into the world, she was sur- 
rounded, dazzled, and confused. But her 
feelings expanded, as the eye becomes 
accustomed to the glare of recent light. 
In the tumult of new pleasures, she saw 
an object, on whom she gazed with the 
smile of new-born love ; it was her last, 
last smile. — He was indifferent, because 
he was unconscious ; she never told her 
love, till its posthumous disclosure was 
no longer a crime in a vestal. '^ 

Ippolito prepared to listen, though it 
was now late, for every object combined 
to soften him to attention; the chaste and 
mellowed light, the quiet apartment, 
whose floating perfumes just stirred the 
sense, the soothing pensiveness of Cyprian, 
who concealed his face with his hand, and 
who reads with the voice of one who 
fears to trust his own emotions, as he 
reads, — " The fii-st fragment," said he, 

" describes 



134 ' FATAL REVENGE ; OR^ 

'' describes her feelings on the sight of 
this object," 

April 1st. 

It is midnight — all is silent around me — 
not a breezC;, not a murmur, above, be- 
low. And J, amid this stillness of nature, 
how and what am I? — What is this feverish 
tumult of mind and sense that contrasts 
and deepens the silence around me ? Whom 
have I seen? I know not; let me not 
speak his name; I will not think who he 
is ; I am most happy. My feelings dwell 
in silence on their inward treasure. The 
gladness within me is still and balmy, like 
the morning-sun of a vernal day. There 
is no being blest as I am this night, ex- 
cept him ; he must be happy, he is so 

beautiful. How is a 

tumult so wild, a calm sa*deep, as I feel 
to-night, reconcileable ? — My spirits are 
agitated but my mind is still.* ..•..<... 

Jprii 



THE FAMILY OP MONTORIO. 135 

April 7th. 

The costly dullness, the cold faces, the 
heavy feasts of supercilious grandeur — 
All are vanished — All that is tedious, has 
ceased to be felt. What matters it where 
I am, when he is with me every where ? 
A single spell of thought, an unuttered 
wish, a moving of tht mental \v^%y brings 
him to my mind. There is a precious 
store of pleasant thought which we love 
to dwell on in solitude without commu- 
nication, and w^ithout suspicion. This 
with me, is the thought of him. 

There comes to me amid crowds a men- 
tal and inaudible whisper of his name. I 
think of him, and happiness steals over 
me like the silent perfum^e of evening; 
like music trembling over a length of 
moon-lit waters. 

Jpril Ml, 

For hours to-day have I sat, without 

the consciousness of thought, yet without 

vacancy ; 



136; FATAL revenge; or, 

vacancy ; his image fills up the miHd as 
if by fascination. Many passed me ; I 
heard their steps, without feeling their 
presence. — Is not tJiis like love 9 — Imposs- 
ible; 2i vestal cannot love ; — no, my hap- 
piness is unmixed with a lover's misery ; 
no restlessness, no jealousy, no torture 
of impossible hope, no anguish of disap- 
pointment. — No ; I may indulge these 
dreams without danger, and without fear ; . 
for / cannot love; — It is not of his beauty 
I think, 'tis of himself; yet I remember 
well his heavenly form, his sunny cheek, 
and the ringlets of his brown, brown hair; 
yet I do not think of them; I need not; 
they are before me for ever.- 

April 9.(^th. 

Whence is this new wish to mingle in 

the world ? Can it be a wish to see him 

again.? Why should I see him? — Those 

who have watched the showery scintillation 

of 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 1S7 

of the meteor, and gazed upon the glo- 
rious vision with uplift hands and eyes, 
do not wait for its return ; why should I 
waste away life in gazing ! I have no 
other hope. What am I doing ? Where 
have I wandered? hope and he — It is some- 
times dangerous to think of danger. — 

Jpril 30th. 

I think too much of him; what I once 
thought impossible, is certain; I think of 
hitn too much. And must I lose that 
cherished thought ; that charm, whose 
silent agency opens a glimpse of mental 
fairy land? Who would rob the poor her- 
mit of his only treasure, the lovely face 
of his Madonna, that only smiling face 
he is ever permitted to see, and to which 
he turns in the hour of solitude and va- 
cancy, vrith devotion animated, not ex- 
tinguished ? 

Such I had hoped his image had been 
to me in the vigils of the dark hour, in 

the 



138 FATAL revenge; or, 

the loneliness of my cell — and must I 
resign it ? 



At this moment, several servants en- 
tered, with each of whom Ippolito suc- 
cessively whispered, and after listening 
with much perturbation to their answei^, 
he rushed from the palace, to which he did 
not return till late the following evening. 



CHAP. 



^HE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 139 



CHAP. VIII, 



Gaudet imagine rcrum — 
Rejoices in the pictured forms of past events. 

The Castle di Muralto, the residence of 
the Montorio family, was totally unlike 
the modern mansions of the Italian nobi- 
lity. Very few vestiges of Gothic archi- 
tecture yet remain on the Continent in 
a tenanted state. 

The style of their paktes is marked by 
elegance, lightness, and novelty. Their 
polished structures are composed o(^ mar- 
ble. 



140 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

ble, mingled with materials which are 
reckoned precious in more northern climes; 
they are beautified with all the orders and 
ornaments of architecture, and present 
images the most remote from gloom and 
solemnity. The castle had been built in 
the time of the Norman kings of Sicily ; it 
possessed all the rude and massive cha- 
racters of that age, darkened by the in- 
juries of time, and the gloom of antiquity. 
The ramparts, like piles of rock, the deep 
length of windowless wall, the turretted 
and embattled angles^ the narrow-arched 
doors crested with the defaced arms of the 
house and its alliances, some bearing 
the pedestals, and some the remains of 
the gigantic statues that once frowned 
over them ; and whose huge fragments 
obstructed the approach of those their 
hoary grandeur invited to examine them ;: 
all these seemed to realize the descriptions 
of Gothic romance, and fill the mand 
with melancholy awe, and wild solemnity. 

It 



THE FAMILY OF MONTOltlO. 141 

k Stood on an eminence of the rich Cam- 
pagna, near the foot of the mountain; 
and amid a country luxuriant v/ith culti- 
vation^ and] sparkling with palaces, the 
castle reared its scathed and warlike front; 
seeming to enjoy a sullen repose from the 
wounds of war and time, and to tell the 
grandeur of those ages that beheld it in 
its strength. Such was the castle, of 
which it was necessary to tell thus much, 
to give clearness to circumstances, which 
would appear obscure and strange if re- 
lated to have passed within the walls of a 
modern palace. — A few days brought 
another letter from Annibal. 



1 had before apprized 

Micheloofmy intention to visit the apart- 
ments so long shut up. He had again 
recourse to dissuasives; but contradictory 
dissuasives defeat themselves, and I was 
only confirmed in my pursuit, by his tell- 
ing 



112 FATAL revenge; OR, 

ing me at one time, it would lead to n« 
discovery, and at another, that the dis- 
coveries I should make, would prove a 
source of lasting inquietude. I was vexeS^ 
that the old man should thus treat me as 
a child, who was only seeking to gratify 
a childish propensity, and could be divert- 
ed from it by childish arguments. 

I entered on a vindication of my mo- 
tives, and as the sudden flash of zeal often 
discovers what was concealed from our- 
selves, I involuntarily detected an earnest- 
ness and solemnity in my purposes, of 
which 1 had not hitherto been conscious. 
I desired him to consider me not as gra- 
tifying a vague and puerile impulse, 
but as pursuing a definite object, of ob- 
scure but real importance, and if real, 
demanding all the zeal, the energy, and 
the capacity of the most powerful mind. 

" If my presages are just, Michelo, I 
shall enjoy the highest honour allowed to 

man^ 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 143 

man, that of confirming the evidence, and 
fulfilling the purposes of divine interpo- 
sition, and if they are not, 1 shall at least 
relieve myself from doubts and fears that 
are becoming intolerable; I shall probably 
detect and punish fraud, and certainly 
possess a resource against future imposi- 
tion/* As I said this, I turned my eye 
on Michelo, but his countenance was 
unaltered. I have irdeed no reason to 
suspect him, I now declared my inten- 
tion to visit the apartments that evening, 
and inquired whether he would be able to 
procure their keys ? *' I have kept those 
keys for m.any years, Signor; I enjoyed 
in my youth extensive trust under your 
uncle, and still there are some employ- 
ments which my lord your father would 
(iot willingly trust to othei*s, and which I 
am therefore still permitted to discharge/' 
Michelo, 1 find, is one who tortures his 
hearers by perpetual allusions to secrets, 
of which nothing more than the hints are 
5 ever 



144 FATAL revenge; or, 

ever suffered to escape him ; who awak- 
ens expectation to a painful state of sus- 
pended existence, and leaves it there 
gasping and unsatisfied; and this not so 
much from malevolence^ or casual indis- 
cretion detecting itself as from a perpe- 
tual struggle between a mind pressed with 
a burthen too great for its powers, (and 
therefore anxious to relieve itself by com- 
munication, ) and the monitions of con- 
science, which tell it is not right, or of 
fear, which whispers it is not safe to 
disclose it. 

I have therefore become accustomed 
to his manner, and forborne to importune 
him. In the dusk of the evening he pro- 
mised to attend me. But by the beauty 
of two succeeding evenings, my father 
was induced to order ices and refresh- 
ments to the pavillion of the fountain ; 
we were obliged to attend him. There, 
amid the indulgence of every wish, and 
every sense ; music and fragrance, flowei-s 

and 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 1 45 

and feasting ; perspectives, through the 
foliaged lattices, of luxuriant gardens, 
warm with the brilliant amber of sun-set, 
which played on the limits of the view, 
in a quivering flood of indefinite bright- 
ness : of waters and woods, among which 
distant melody floated, breathing a low 
and dying note, so sweet, it seemed 
caught and echoed by the shells of listen- 
ing spirits. Amid such scenes we sat in 
sombrous state, the mute, sad libellers of 
nature and enjoyment, more like statues 
that decked the feast, than human beings, 
partaking its pleasantness. 

The third evening I awaited Michelo, 
in my apartment, and he arrived at the 
appointed hour. It was the dusky still- 
f\ess of twilight; all was tranquil in the 
castle, and the grey light that came paler 
through the casements, seemed to pro- 
mise quiet and obscurity. We passed 
hastily through the vaulted cloisters that 
lead to the lower stories of the tower; and 
VOL. I. H then 



145 FATAL revenge; 0"R^ 

then opening a door, that led to a long 
passage/ we seemed to enter on a new 
region of the castle. Here all signs of 
life and habitation seemed to cease; the 
walls appeared never to have enclosed a 
human habitant. The very echoes had a 
strange hollowness, as if they were for 
the first time awakened by the tread of a 
human foot. We reached another door, 
which seemed intended never to open ; 
Michelo applied one of several keys which 
he now produced, and I was obliged to 
assist him with my utmost strength be- 
fore it yielded. 1 now discovered the 
foot of a stair- case, which wound beyond 
the sight, and on the ballustrade of which 
Michelo paused to take breath. I as- 
cended the stairs, they were dark and 
narrow, and conducted us to a door which 
required our united strength again, to 
open. Michelo, who had exhausted his 
in the effoit, feebly staggered onward 
when it yielded, and sunk into a seat. 

I followed^ 



THE FAxMILY OF MONTORIO. 14T 

I followed, gazing round me ; it was a 
spacious apartment, apparently heaped 
with faded furniture, but of which nothing 
could be distinctly seen, for the light 
that broke through the dismantled case- 
ments, and torn tapestries of the windows, 
could only discover its size. Michelo 
falteringly withdrew the drapery that 
obscured one of the windows. I now look- 
ed around the apartment ; the decay 
appeared to proceed more from neglect 
than from age; Every thing was covered, 
and almost consumed by dust: all the 
furniture of a sumptuous chamber v/as 
there. The bed stood under a canopy, 
dark and defaced, but still retaining its 
draperies, its pillare, and its plumage. 
'' This was the bridal apartment of the 
Count Orazio," said Michelo ; '' here the 
Countess passed most of her melancholy 
life; and here" — he turned av/ay. 

I inquired why these apartments had been 

shut up, aiid why the costly furniture, 

n 2 that 



148 FATAL REVENGE ; OR^ 

that might decorate the most modern 
apartments, was here sufTered to decay 
in obscurity. — '* They would perhaps 
have revived painful recollections/' said 
Michelo, falteringly ; " when my lord 
therefore returned to his castle, I received 
orders to remove hither the furniture of 
those gay apartments, and then to close 
these doors for e'cer ; an order which I la- 
ment I have been tempted to infringe." 
Again filled with wonder, which the cir- 
cumstances of the place, and these dark 
suggestions inspired, I renewed my im- 
portunities to Michelo, to finish the tale 
he had begun in the turret-chamber. 

He heard me with increasing anguish of 
perplexity, but with unyielding resolution. 
His eye wandered round the apartment, 
as if he dreaded that even the broken and 
tinmeaning words he uttered were over- 
heard; ''^ I cannot, I dare not, you know not 
how I am straitened; "{ he wrung his hands, 
and whispered in the struggling tones of 

misery) 



THE FAMILY OF .MONTOIUO. 149 

misery) " a strong arm is stretched out 
upon me; it deals with me darkly, but 
feelingly; no, I cannot, I dare not." An 
impulse of inquiry struck me that moment, 
which I indulged, though I could not 
account for. — " Michelo, is this myste- 
rious silence, connected in its cause, or 
its object, with the confessor Schemoli.*' 
I shall never forget the look which he 
assumed at this question; his counte- 
nance expressed the most exquisite pain, 
as if for danger 1 had incurred by the 
question, while rising on his feeble feet, 
and pressing his whole hand on his lips, 
he conveyed in the strongest manner by 
his attitude the dread of being overheard, 
though w^here we were it w^as impossible 
for human listeners to penetrate. — I was 
so confounded by his aspect, that I for- 
bore to renew my question, and a long 
pause followed. — " Do you wish to see 
the other apartments Signor,'* .said he; 
I followed him with that sullen silence, 

with 



150 FATAL KEVENGE ; OR^ 

with which we comply with the proposal 
of one wiio has recently disappointed us_, 
and from whom we wish in our spleen, 
to conceal that the remainder of his in- 
formation has interested us. — We entered 
the other apartment — when I write these 
w^ords, I pause in thought; I recollect 
how important in the account of life/ 
that moment will be : and I wonder that 
even unconsciously 1 approached it with 
so little emotion. This apartment was 
like the other, dark and decayed. The 
light that streamed through dim disco- 
loured windows, the last faint ray of 
evening, accorded well with the objects 
it disclosed. The silent mouldering of 
decay, the dusky stillness of desolation, 
and the old pensioner of memory, point- 
ing with withered hand, to the images 
that supplied her morbid and melancholy 
pleasures. 

He proceeded to display the pictures : 
the first was that of the Count Orazio. 

I think 



THE FAMILY OF MONTOEIO. i.Ol 

I diink the painter to whom he sat, must 
have trembled to raise his eye to him ; he 
must have felt as the prophet did, when 
he beheld steadfastly the countenance 
of Hazael, and foretold the sufferings of 
his country. It was one of those faces 
which tells the character at a look ; the 
bold, thoughtful front, the dark brows 
that almost met, the strong curve, and 
prominent lines of the nose, the proud 
curl of the upper lip, of which even the 
smile seemed to hold alliance with con- 
tempt, the wch, dark, sanguine complex- 
ion, which seems to be the shade the 
stronger passions love. From such a cha- 
racter I would expect the fiercest bursts 
of passion; the proudest sternness of 
heroism ; soarings of super-human virtue, 
or sallies of outrageous dcpraviry ; the 
impassive brightness of an angel, or the 
potent and glaring malignity of a fiend. 

Michelo supported this picUire with an 
averted ey^, and as he replaced it, shook 

in 



152 VATAL revenge; os^ 

in every limb — *' And this/' said he. dis~ 
playing another, '' is the portrait of the 
Countess Erminia ; vv'hen I look on that 
picture, twenty years seem to pass away, 
and I feel as I did when I first saw her; 
such she was, with that gay air of care- 
less loveliness; yet even then there were 
some who spoke of a melancholy, a de- 
jection, that they said was discoverable 
ihrough all her beauty and splendour. 
I could not see it, she was so lovely, 
that to me, she ever appeared to smile/' 
He continued to speak, 1 believe; I heard 
him not ; yet the murmur of his praise 
dwelt on my ear, as something that ac- 
corded with my own feelings, and that 
was pleasant, though not distinct to me. 
I remained in the mute trance of admi- 
ration ; I knelt without a breath, without 
a sound, almost without a thought before 
that picture. It was the first time I had 
ever beheld beauty, ever knew what was 
love : I will not call beauty, that assem- 
blage 



THE FAMILY OP MONTORIO. 153. 

blage of colours, to ^vhich the cold eye 
of judgment gives the praise of harmony, 
and quits it; — no; — it is the communica- 
tion of unknown pleasure; it is the dis- 
covery of that unexplored chord of mind, 
which is touched for the first time by the 
hand of harmony: it is the realizing those 
forms which float in the morning*s dream, 
in the musings of twilight : it is the pic- 
ture of Erminia. In a space which appears 
as a moment, I had experienced every 
emotion that accompanies the varied cha- 
racter of passion ; the delicious anguish, 
the painful joy, the fear sweeter than hope, 
the hope sweeter than enjoyment ; the 
visionary existence, the pictured dream 
of thought, the high and super-human 
tone which this passion alone gives to 
the feelings and the character; in a moment 
1 had lived the whole life of a lover; it 
was no longer a picture before which I 
knelt, I was convinced the original yet 
existed. It seemed to me more |)robable 
II 5 that 



154 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

that the sun should be blotted from heaven^ 
than that such a being should be permitted 
to quit existence, w^ithout trace, and with- 
out resemblance. There was a reality in 
my feelings, a fixed persuasion of her 
certain existence, which I know not what 
to ascribe to, except the living loveliness 
of that form. Bi'ows that thought; eyes 
that spoke; lips that smiled; smiled mu- 
tably with living and sensible change ; 
hair, of which lest I should disturb the 
gauzy waving, I held my breath as I 
gazed. She stood as in her days of early 
happiness ; the scene and attitude were 
sylvan ; a fawn was flying from her, to 
whom she held out her hand ; mine was 
extended too. — And her hair; — it is that 
da k brown^ whose deepening waves, and 
tendril ringlets, have a sunny and bur- 
nished brightness^ that resembles the 
foliage of a bower, tinged with the rich 
varieties of autumnal light : — but oh, to 
play with those ringlets, to look in those 

living 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 155 

living eyes, to kiss that breathing neck— 
You think me mad — I mav be so — was I 
so, when kneeling and attesting the lovely- 
form itself, I vowed to pursue the ori- 
ginal through the world; — to preserve my 
affections for her with vestal-sacredness ; 
to make life a long pilgrimage of love; 
and never to know peace of mind or body^ 
till I discovered and possessed her. 

Whatever may be thought of such a 
resolution, I at least experienced from it, 
what I expected; — it composed my mind; 
it exalted and gratified my feelings; from 
its bold impracticability, I actually deri- 
ved an inviting omen. It seemed worthy 
of the dignity of my passion; it seemed 
to promise that no diihculties should ob- 
struct that pursuit, which had set out by 
daring all. 

The light was now declining fast; an hour 
had elapsed since I entered the cabinet ; 
my original purpose had been utterly for- 
gotten; but another resource was suggest- 
l ed 



} 5G FATAL r.EVENGE; OR, 

cd to me^, as I was quitting it, and the 
thought made me bless my happy facility in 
designing. I took out my tablets, and be- 
fore the beam that seemed to linger on her 
countenance, like my own gaze, had died 
away, I sketched a likeness with such fide- 
lity as convinced me the original inventor 
of painting, was love. I continued to com- 
pare it with the original, by a light which 
none but the quickened eye of passion 
could have distinguished any thing by; 
and the sketch so perfect at first, seemed 
to want a million of touches, when held 
to the picture. I continued to add them, 
rather with the pleasure, than the Jwpe of 
amendment. — But Michelo, terrified at my 
delay, supplicated me so earnestly, not 
to expose us to the danger of discovery, 
that reluctantly, at length, I quitted the 
apartment. It w^as late when I regained 
my own, which I did however in safety, 
2nd obscurity When I was seated at my 
lamp, I reflected (and you probably have 
5 anticipated 



THE FAMILY OF MOKTORIO. 157 

anticipated me) on the views with which 
my pursuit had commenced, and the visi- 
onary indulgence by which I had suffered 
them to be suspended. The being who 
goes forth in the doubtful confidence of 
a supernal summons, and the shadowy 
dignity of an agent of heaven ; armed 
with all the powers of his nature, and 
dreading a demand for more than all ; and 
who, when arrived, employs the hour of 
his trial in kneeling before a picture, and 
pouring out passion to an insensible repre- 
sentative of the dead L certainly presents 
no very consistent inK^e of human reso- 
lution. While occupied in these sage 
thoughts^ my eyes glanced on the picture 
in my hand, and I forgaxe myself. — The 
remainder of the night was passed not in 
self-reproach, and resolutions of future 
fortitude, but in finishing and cclourincj 
it. 1 now mix with the familv, with the 
picture of Erminia in my bosom, and 
feel, like one who has found a treasure, 

which 



158 FATAL revenge; or, 

which he smiles to think those around him. 
are ignorant of; like one who carries 
about him an invisible talisman against 
care and pain, against the apathy of 
unawakened feeling, and the vacancy of 
an unemployed life. 



CHAR 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 159 



CHAP. IX. 



Set] mihi rel tellus optera prius, ima dehiscat, 

Vtl pater omnipotens adi^^at me fulmine ad umbras,— 

Ante pudor quam te violo> aut tua jura resolvo. 

Virgil. 

But oh { may earth her dreadful gulph display. 
And, gaping, snatch me from the golden day; 
May I be hurl'd by^ heaven's almighty sire. 
Transfixed in thunder, and involved in fire, 
Down to the shades of hell, from realms of light— 
Ere, sacred honour ! I betray thy cause 
In word, or thought, or violate thy laws, 

Pitt. 

In this letter, romantic as it was, Ippolito 
discovered strong traces of real passton, 
such as exists under the most unexpected 
circumstances, and contends for its ex- 
istence 



l60 FATAL revenge; OR, 

istence with difficulties which any other 
passion would decline as impracticable. 
But for light subjects of thought^, he had 
now no leisure, and no wish. One object^, 
dark and bewildering, filled all his thoughts. 
Since the night he had betrayed so much 
agitation on his return from an excur- 
tion with Cyprian, he had never recovered 
his tranquillity. He appeared either in 
contemplation, or in strong mental de- 
bate ; perplexity and fear were in all his 
movements, and these had become so 
irregular, as to suggest he was engaged 
in no ordinary pursuit. The day he 
usually passed alone ; about midnight 
he quitted the palace, and passed the 
remainder of the night, xvhere no one 
followed, and none could conjecture. At 
this change, his gayer acquaintance laugh- 
ed, his friends wondered, and Cyprian 
wept. But silence and wonder were all 
the resources they had; his silence re- 
mained impenetrable. Sometimes he 

mingled 



THE l-'xVMILY OF MONTORIO. 161 

mingled in society, and laughed and 
fluttered with the eager gaiety of one 
who is resolved to snatch a respite from 
pain : — but however pleased, or pleasing 
others, the clock striking twelve, dissolv- 
ed the spell. Beyond that hour neither 
pleasure nor importunity could procure 
his stay. He rose abruptly^, dismissed his 
servants, nor was visible till the morning, 
when he returned alone and slowly 
through the Strada di Toledo. Some- 
times, he admitted Cyprian^ and listened 
to a continuation of the fragments^ be- 
cause he was not interrupted by demands 
for comment or approbation ; w^hile Cy- 
prian, ignorant of any thing that held 
alliance with art, read simply on, hoping 
that attention was included in silence, 
or even when he discovered negligence^, 
compromising for the pleasure of being 
admitted into the presence of Ippolito. 



May ItJu 



162 FATAL revenge; on^ 

May ItTu 
This perpetual struggle is worse than 
either alternative. — To do all I dread' 
to do: — to see him again, were only the 
guilt of a moment; would it not "be better 
than to waste life in this misery of un- 
certain debate, which neither possesses^ 
the resolution of innocence, nor the en- 
joyments of guilt: — what if I see him no 
more— But why not see him, ever present 
as he is to my thoughts ; — is he not per- 
haps more seductive, more fatally lovely, 
to the eyes of imagination, than of sense ^ 
Yes, I will see him, I will gaze on him, I 
will discover how unlike the object of my 
thought, the image of this dream he is;^ 
and then I shall cease to think of him. 

Mai/ 16th. 
I have again seen him ; — I am yet breath- 
less; — I cannot yet look into my mind; 
yet let me think — yes, I have thought 
enough now for life. I shall think my 

live-long 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 163 

live-long convent hours away. — Oh, he 
is gloriously beautiful. What thoughts 
hover around his image; like music 
streaming before the approach of aerial 
visitant ; like the clouds of amber and 
rose that invest and mingle with the form 
of some fine creature of the elements. In 
such a gay blaze of mental brightness he 
burst upon me. — When the tints of the 
evening gathered round the group on the 
Corso, I hoped, I dared to hope, he 
might pass — in the obscurity he might 
pass without seeing me — my sigh would 
be unheard, my burning cheek w^ould 
only be felt by me — I might see him, I 
might even touch him as he passed. 
Among a group near nie, I saw a plume 
that overtopped the rest — it advanced — oh 
the tremulous pant, the suffocating swell 
of expectation ; — ^I could not believe it 
for very excess of jov — he approached ; I 
saw him not, nor heard him; it was all 
mist and darkness with me then; hut I 

felt-- 



164 FATAL REVENGE ; OR^ 

felt — it was he; and I ^^\\ he was gone, 
liis departing was like the dying away of 
a scented gale; rich, languid, overpower- 
ing; from that moment there was a deli- 
cious sickness in the air ; there was a soft 
oppression at my heart; I could not speak, 
and had any one spoken to me, I feel I 
must have answered v/ith my tears. All 
night have I sat, repeating to myself at 
long intervals, ''\ have seen him." — Morn- 
ing is now dawning through my chamber, 
yet still is evening and the Corso with 
me. 

May mth. 
Can I remain in this state of dotage ? 
Yet dare 1 look into my heart, he is food 
and rest to me ; — yet I say I do not love ; 
he is thought, and dream, and vision to 
me; — yet I say I do not love; my prayers 
are offered to him; — yet 1 do not love. 
Oh, whither shall I turn ? I am sore beset. 
Let me fall into the hands of him whom 

I 



THE FAMILY OF MOMoilIO. 165 

I have offended; rather than that heart 
which has betrayed and destroyed me. 
What shall I say '' I have sinned?" Must 
it, must it then be a sin to love? 

May 27th. 
And this was love; darkly I floated on; 
I never felt the tide; but when the light 
breaks, I am on the ocean waste ; alone, 
frozen, aghast. — Had I heard of a tale 
like this in my days of innocence, how 
had I condemned the self-deluding, self- 
betrayed wretch ? Oh ye, who boast of 
virtue yet untried, who defy temptations 
that mercy yet has spared you ! I was 
once pure like you; like you I was proud. 
But I have strayed from the fold, I have 
wandered in the wilderness. The servant 
of the Lord hath forsaken her first love, 
the guide of her youth, and gone after 
strangers. 

June 3d. 
It is neither light nor darkness with me 

now; 



16(5 FATAL revenge; or^ 

now ; I am in a mixed and twilight state, 
would I could sleep. Oh, for a deep, still 
dumber such a> I slept, when 1 dreamt 
I did not love; and oh for such dreams 
that lit that slumber — for those bright 
bursts of vision, that had drank the 
meteor's lisrht, and were the forms of 
heaven. — They are gone 



They talk of going to Rome : let them 
carry me where they will : whence is thi 
passiveness? — He has quitted Naples — I 
smite my breast, but my heart continues 
to beat there still. 

July 7 th. 

What have a few, a very few months 
made of me ! Oh, heaven ! I was so happy, 
it was a sin to make me miserable. 1 was 
absorbed in divine things, dead, though 
in the world, to the things of the world ; 
alive only ta the objects of that where I 

believed 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 167 

believed my heart and treasure were. 
Mine were the pure pleasures, the hallow- 
ed hopes, the calm, corrected mind; a 
light that flowed from heaven shed a glad 
and quiet brightness around me, and I 
rejoiced to walk in that light. The morn- 
ing awoke me to prayer; at night I paus- 
ed upon the blameless day, and sunk to 
sleep in prayer. I reckoned that every 
day should be like the last, as free from 
guilt, as far from pain; that ^ should 
float on their equal motion, as on the 
wings of a cherubim, to that place of 
which I believed my enjoyment certain 
and near. Is it so short a space ? And am 
I so already lost ? Am I already this 
feverish, distracted, gifi^^i/ being, who 
ventures every day a more daring length 
in indulgence, a length she would have 
trembled at the preceding one, and while 
she measures with miserable and reverted 
eye, the distance she has strayed from tbe 
path of peace, feels also that it has brought 

no 



1G8 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

no nearer the object for which she has 
wandered till she has lost herself? 

****** 

July 15th. 
It came to me cherub-smiling; it rose 
on me like the morning with her hundred 
hues and shapes of brightness; joy, and 
beauty, and splendour, all that is gay 
and rich in life, all that can seduce the 
senses and the heart, danced around it in 
fairy-vision. I looked, and listened, and 
was destroyed ; and this was love. In the 
smiles of its birth, in the cherub-dawn of 
voung passion, who thought of groans 
and anguish ? — Yet let me acquit heaven; 
from the first I trembled and I feared ; I 
touched the cup with a faltering lip ;— 
but oh the sweet, sweet draught. • 

Juli/ '27th. 
And I took no warning from my dis- 
tracted devotions; from my long volup- 
tuous day-dreams; from my coldness to 

better 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 169 

better thoughts. Oh I if these sufferings 
would make me hate their cause. If these 
anguished and consuming hours could 
make me impatient or resisting, there 
might be hope; but, oh! not tears flow- 
ing for ages, could w^ash away the cha- 
racters his first and single sight wrote on 
my heart. 

Day and night my mind seems to hang 
over that with silent and helpless contem- 
plation. Nothing rouses me, except to 
an impatience of disturbance. Guilty I 
cling to it. Miserable I cling to it. Self- 
condemned I cling to it. I have sunk 
into a dull and lethargic passiveness^ and 
the reproaches of conscience sound like 
the storm in the ear of sheltered dotage, 
vexing his deafness^ but not disturbing 
his sluggish comforts. 

lull/ 21. 
I pray — while a lurking hope tells me 
:iy prayers will not avail ; I vary their 
^oi. I. I form; 



IZQ FATAL REViJNGE; OR^ 

form ; I seem to redouble my earnestness, 
while something dares to whisper me, I 
would recal them, did I fear they would 
be granted. 

I determined on some occupation for 
the day, to hide from myself how it is 
always occupied ; and while I think I am 
engaged, a consciousness that to think of 
Iu7?i will be its only employment, seems 
to mock at my eiforts, and I feel it with- 
out emotion — without a wish to resist, or 
a fear to yield. Resolutions formed with 
a consciousness they will not be kept — 
the purposes of life maintaining a faint 
war with its employments. Tears, stifled 
by indulgences, from which their feeble 
remonstrances take away pleasure, while 
they leave the guilt ; and prayers contra- 
-dicted at the moment they are offered up, 
by the whispers of a rebel heart. 

JSuch am I become! — object of fatal 
passion — come and see what you have 
made me?— -No. — Come not to see me 

rejoice 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 171 

rejoice in my guilt — come not to cast 
away compassion on sufferings whose enu- 
meration only gives me a strange ^ud 
dreadful delight. 

Ju/i/ 23. 

'Tis in vain — I resist no longer — I can- 
not live, and not be this being — or to 
cease to be ffuiltv, I must cease to be — 
Nor dare I wish that ; nor do I wish it — 
This misery is but too precious to me — 
all that I have ever tasted of pleasure 
should not purchase from me^ love's 
lonely, bitter, midnight tear. And dare 
I call this suffering ? Oh, no. — No, no. 
His smile; his wicked, witching smile, 
upbraids me when I do. 

His eye is on me, it seems to ask me. 
Do I complain? — Strange and wondrous 
being, what hast thou done with me? — 
His image comes to my soul like the 
moon in the night of storms. Amid the 
dark masses— -amid the billowy ridges — 
I % amid 



172 FATAL Revenge; or, 

amid the mixed and angry streaks — she 
bursts in brief and rejoicing splendour, 
and gilding tlieir thwarted and fighting 
forms with beauty, while the vexed tra- 
veller looks up and blesses the sight for a 
moment. 

July 25. 
And is it a crime to love ? — ■ — Have I 
changed the passion, or the name ? — In 
my childhood, I loved the light of the 
setting sun — the gush of the twilight 
breeze — the pale and wandering moon — 
glossing with her light the fleecy fretwork 
of a summer sky. I said I loved them, 
can I not love him, as I loved them— with 
sinless, placid, untroubled love ! Is he 
not the work of the same hand: were 
they not both formed to be loved ? Is it 
my curse, that I must mingle guilt with 
the feelings which all others indulge in 
innocence ? Can I not think of him as of 
them — bright, beautiful, distant, impass- 
able ? 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 173 

able ? Can 1 not sit and gaze life away, 

without a wish to soar upwards ? No, 

no. These words fall from my pen, they 
come not from the heart. 

The wild and lawless thought, the wish 
of the dream, I dare not tell myself of, 
teach me a vestal cannot love a human 
being, as she loved a moon-beam in her 
childhood. 

Juhj 26. 
There are a thousand ebbs and flows of 
feeling, known only to the mind that loves; 
but Vrhich make me tremble every mo- 
ment, lest my perturbation should discover 
them to others. His name I hear without 
emotion, when any other member of his 
family is mentioned by it — but when ap- 
plied to him, when he is talked of by the 
most careless speaker, my frame thrills, 
my eyes grow misty, ruined as I am, my 
mind smiles with a sad and guilty joy at 

that name 

His 



174 FATAL HE VENGE ; OlR, 

His name I scarce ever dare pronounce, 
my throat swells when I would breathe it; 
but how I delight to hear it uttered, and 
how many wretched pretexts of subtlety I 
employ, to introciiice a conversation that 
will involve the mentioa of him; and 
when it succeeds, and when his name is 
mentioned, do they not see how I pause, 
and how I tremble ! Alas, what if they 
do ? Am I not beheld by an eye, to 
shrink from which, the detection of a 
world would be well exchanged ?. . . . 

My sufferings are very great ; 

who but me has known misery without 
relief; who but me has known despair 
Vv'ithout hope: we deceive ourselves with 
sound- : when we talk of despair, we 
mean not, that relief is impossible, but 

that relief is distant or doubtful. 

But whither shall 1 turn — is there one 
speck in my horizon ? No, no, no, Dai'k 
and deserted, I wade through floods of de- 
speration. I struggle without vigour. I 

rise 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 175 

rise without consolation. I sink without 
hope. In those hours of intolerable an- 
guish, when the mind, wearied with suf- 
fering, and stung to frantic energy, is 
driven, like the importunate widow^ to 
knock loud and eager at the door of hope. 
In those hours, 1 have said to myself — who 
or what shall aid me ? Shew me difficul- 
ties to be overcom.e — shew me sufferings 
to be endured. Give me to contend with 
all earthly and possible things ; and I will 
do it. What will I not do ? But I am as 
dust in the whirlwind. I am as a leaf in 
the torrent, that has swept away the forest. 
The force and current of things bear me 
along. To please me^ the order of na- 
ture must be inverted. The Deity must 
change. The woman must seek the man> 
and be accepted. The vestal must be per- 
jured w^ith impunity, therefore I turn to 
hope, I turn to time, I turn to space : I 
turn to self, (for to self, endless in re- 
source, and exhaustless in consolation, we 

turn 



i7G FATAL revenge; or, 

turn and cling last), and all is despai?'. — 
But shall I dare to say so ? I have made 
my purchase — yes — I have sold my soul 
for a sniilc' — I am betrayed with a kiss.— 
Oh! my love, my love — hast thou not 
asked too much. Oh ! look not on me 
with that smile of innocent loveliness — 
Glance not on me that fatal, fatal eye — 
Move not before me, with that witching 
form. Do not, or I shall think all, all too 
little. But surely thou hast asked much, 
my love • • • • 

Juiy 27. 

Of the moon — I sometimes think he 
gazes on it when I gaze, and then a gush 
of tearful pleasure fills my eye, and I 
wipe it away to catch the moment of 
simultaneous gazing. Of the breeze — I 
guess it is cooling him, and then I spread 
my parched and pallid cheek to it, to taste 
pleasure with him. 

But my supreme delight is to breathe 

his 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 177 

his name to the ear of midnight, with 
ideot stealth; in the deep and silent hour, 
when the night-vapour, fine as an infant's 
breath, stands in the air — when the leaf of 
the poplar and the aspen is unmoved — 
when there is a hissing in the ear for very 
stillness — then I love to lean from my 
casement, and utter his name — once and 
softly : then swift, and bright, and throng- 
ing myriads of images, float in glittering 
play around me. 

Then the early morn, the tepid glow, 
the vernal birth of cherub-passion, rushes 
on me. The first meeting — the rapturous 
flutter of young alarm — the expansion of 
a new sense — the opening burst of a 
world of pleasure. These are with me — 
his name makes them present. I am ab- 
sorbed in them, I rush on with their un- 
conscious flow. Some image of new and 
daring indulgence arrests me — I start, I 
recoil — but I only recoil to see I have 
gone so far. Tis less impossible to go 
I 5 too 



178 FATAL revenge; or, 

too far, than to return. I hesitate — I am 
lost • • • • when I recover, I am weeping : 
thinking I ought to shed the tear of peni- 
tence, and feeling it is only the tear of 
passion. 

Juhf W. 

And is it a crime to love ?— I cannot 
unite the thoughts of guilt and him — 
when I bend over my mind — when his 
image smiles on me — when the gush of 
early pleasure fills nty heart — I am no 
longer guihy — I am no more wretched-— 
I am only the happy visionary, who has 
gtven up life for a dream of joy. 

Yet, sometimes, I am sorely smitten 
with fear and perplexity. Sometimes I 
would give worlds ^o know if I am thus 
utterly lost — if there is no hope for one 
who has dared to love. I have leant from 
my window in the anguish of my solici- 
tude — I have gazed on the stars walking 
in their brightness — I have asked them. 

Is 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 279 

Is there any hope ? I determined to de- 
cide it by the first I should see fall to the 
right — and I dared to dream, that he who 
regulates the sparrow's flight;, might direct 
the fall of the meteor for good to his wait- 
ing, trembling creature. I lingered, and- 
there fell one to the right — and then — 'I 
felt it gave no ease to me^ 

Returning^ through the portico this 
evening, I met a dbg, who looked wist- 
fully at me — the mute, melancholy eye 
caught me — I attempted to go — he con- 
tinued to gaze on me — In the importunity 
of my misery, I said — art thou a spirit — 

and hast thou a power to serve me? 1 

tore myself away in time to save my reason. 

^* And was there such sensibility,'* said 
Ippolito, bursting out; '' and was it suf- 
fered to pine to death ? Was there such 
a heart ? And was it permitted to break ?~ 
0h thou lorn and lovely trembler ! had I 
hcen the object of thy affections^ strong 
and gentle as they were, how would I 

have 



180 FATAL revenge; or, 

have sought, how I would have soothed 
thee, how would I have kissed away the 
precious, precious tears, and looked in 
thy timid eye for the first beam of restor- 
ed hope ?" — " These are but sounds of 
softness," said Cyprian ; *' alas, what 
could you have done for one whom na- 
ture and society condemned." — '' Nature," 
said Ippolito, '' is no enemy to love ; and 
for society, I would have borne her in my 
arms through the world, while one re- 
mained for me ; I would have resisted 
every person that opposed ; I would have 
fought with every man who dared to as- 
perse her ; I would have borne her to 
some quiet retreat, hallowed by solitude 
and love; for her I would have despised 
and relinquished a world that could nei- 
ther understand nor taste such enjoyments 
as ours ; and in the breathing pause of 
quiet delight, smiling I would have asked 
her, had love no counterbalance for his 
pains?" ^' Dreadful, delicious, maddening 

sounds," 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 181 

sounds/' murmured Cyprian ; " they had 
undone her; blessed be the saints she 
heard them not ; shame was not added 
to her sufferings; she died by draughts 
of slow and cruel poison; but not the 
maddening cup of feverish impurity : of 
love she died, but pure and penitent. 
Had she heard such sounds, even dying 
she would have felt the racking wish ; 
the luxurious tumult; the groan of death 
had been mixed with the sigh of desire; 
you could not have kept the sinner on 
earth ; and you would have rent a peni- 
tent from heaven. But no, no, no ; she 
slumbers in the dark bed ; she cannot 
hear those sounds, her ear is as dull as 
the dead." — '' Boy,'' said Ippolito, " it 
would have saved us both; she had not 
died -of disappointed passion, and I had 
been spared many a dark and feverish 
hour. — But I wander; I was not the 
object of the passion you describe."— 
*' You^ and you alone;" said Cyprian, 

with 



18S FAfAL revenge; or, 

with a burst of feeling — ''You she lo\'^d; 
and by you was she destroyed. For you* 
she tempted the dangers of guilty plea^ 
sure; for you she dared to wish, to hope, 
to madden ; for you she trembled, she 
sorrowed, and she wept; will you believe, 
she loved, Montorio, she died for you/' 
*' For me — for me," exclaimed Ippolito; 
while his frame quivered, and a glow of 
lovely shame suffused his cheeks and' 
forehead ; " why then did she not live 
for me ? Gyprian> you only mock my 
vanity. '* — '' No,'" said Cyprian, who had' 
risen, and whose whole form mantled; 
and was buoyed up with sudden anima- 
tion, — " no^ I deceive you not; her spirit' 
hovers near us, to attest the truths to wit- 
ness the avowal. Hear me, Montorio, would 
you have loved her.?" — "You but mockmy 
credulity;*' said Ippolito, smiling; — "No, 
by her presence, by her near presence, 
which I feel this moment, I mock not. An- 
swer my question, could you have loved her, 

Montorio.^*' 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORlO. 183 

Montorio?" — *' Could I >'* replied Ippo- 
lito, darting his eye to heaven, " if her 
spirit be indeed present^ it is satisfied 
with the homage of my heart/' *' It is 
present/' said Cyprian, eagerly, ''it is 
present, and it must hover near us, till 
it be absolved." — ** Enthusiast, what would 
you mean, what would you ask?" — ''Ima- 
gine me her for a moment," said Cyprian, 
sinking at Ippolito's feet, and hiding his 
face — " Imagine me her; give me one 
kiss/' " Enthusiastic boy/' " Give me 
but one, and her spirit shall depart, pleas- 
ed and absolved/' " Visionary, you do 
what you will with me; I never kissed 
one of my own sex before ; but do what 
you will with me;" half blushing, half 
pouting, he offered his red lip, Cyprian 
touched it and fainted. 



CHAP. 



184 FATAL revenge; oh^ 



CHAP. X, 



Letter from Jnnibal cU Montorm 

I HAVE been so tossed with doubt and 
distraction, since I wrote to you, that, I 
have been unable to form one sane re- 
flection, or to divide events from the 
feelings that accompanied them. I de- 
ferred the continuance of my letters, there- 
fore, in hopes of writing them at length 
in calmness, and in ease. The hope has 
been fruitless. The e.vtraordi nary clrciini' 
stances in which I have been engaged* 
have deprived me of all distinct powders of 

discrimination 



TFIE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 185 

discrimination and reflection ; ihey are 
so woven into my habits of thought, that 
I feel myself able to do little more than 
to describe them ; and even that, not as 
a spectator would, and as a philosophic 
mind would wish to do, but with all the 
confused perceptions, the superstitious 
minuteness, and the weak amplifications 
of real and present fear. I know not whe- 
ther you will prefer this to a more com- 
posed account or not ; but if you do not, 
you must compound with necessity ; for 
it is the only one my present state of 
mind enables me to furnish you with. 

The night was approaching, on which I 
had determined to re-visit the apartments, 
and to suffer Michelo to tell his tale. I 
remembered how I had once been over- 
powered by fear, and once by pleasure ; 
and I now determined to collect every 
powder, and confirm every resolution that 
could preserve me from the influence of 
weakness or of deception. 

I even 



186 FATAL KEVEKGE; OHj 

I even perused some of the old legenc)s 
of our library, that abound in adventures 
similar to mine ; I endeavoured to act a 
personal part in the narrative, and to shun 
the weakness, or acquire the fortitude, 
which their various agents exhibited. I 
passed some time in this mental disciplin- 
ing ; but I find ineffectually, if its influ- 
ence was to have preserved me from fear. 

As the hour approached, my wish to 
view the spot I was to visit so soon be- 
came irrepressible. I ventured on the 
terrace that leads to the tower, and I 
found myself under the walls of the apart- 
ment ; its appearance without resembled 
that within, dark, lonely, and deserted 
I saw a range of windows, which from 
their direction, I conceived lit the long 
passage through which I had been con- 
ducted by Alichelo. They were narrow, 
and dismantled, and at a distance from 
the ground, but many cavities in the 
walls, together with fragments of the 

battlements 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 187 

battlements that had fallen on the terrace, 
assisted me to climb to their lexel ; I now 
looked round me ^vith security; I had 
taken a time at which the servants were 
engaged in a distant part of the castle ; 
and 1 enjoyed the leisure of fall gratifi- 
cation. I looked through the window, 
it lit the passage as I had imagined ; the 
passage appeared, as on the night I had 
visited it, damp, and dusky, and solitary; 
but, as, by holding my face parallel to 
the window, I looked down its deep 
length, I imagined I saw a figure issuing 
from the wall at the other end, and ao- 
proaching with a slow, unsteady motion. 
That it vv-as a human figure, I could only 
conjecture from its loose garments; of 
which, the darkness still prevented me 
from distinguishing the shape or habit. 

It advanced — nor was it with a pleasant 
emotion that I recollected it must pass by 
the window at which I hung. It advanced, 
its head w^as covered; one arm was ex- 
tended 



188 FATAL revenge; or, 

tended, and the dark drapery which hung 
from it, shrouded the face. I was so ab- 
sorbed in wonder and curiosity, that till 
it drew within a few paces of the window, 
I forgot my station would discover me ; 
I relaxed my hold, and concealed my 
head under the large pediment of the win- 
dow. It passed ; and though I felt through 
the shattered casement-pan nels, the air 
impelled by its approach, its step gave 
no sound; I raised my head, it had passed; 
and I saw it floating away in the distant 
obscurity of the passage. I lingered long 
under the casement ; but there was neither 
sound nor object. Of what I had seen, 
1 knew not what to think ; that it was not 
Michelo, I was certain ; and no other 
being had means to enter those walls, 
except by such means as I was almost 
impelled to believe that form was master 
of. I loitered in vague and unsatisfied 
conjecture, till the hour at which Michelo 
had promised to attend me; when that 

arrived. 



1 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 189 

arrived, he joined mc, and employing 
the same precautions, v/e reached the 
apartments unobserved. Michelo again 
paused, to recover himself from fear and 
from haste; and I examined the apart- 
ments, with more leisure, and a better 
light than the last evening had allowed. 

'^ Signor,'* said Michelo, recalling me^ 
'^ I have led you hither that I might men- 
tion without interruption, and without 
fear, what in any other part of the castle 
I might notsafely mention, not even in my 
own remote turret, at midnight; I came 
hither to shun the suspicions which I fear 
are already excited ; those observations 
v/hich I dread our frequent conferences 
may suggest, and which it is impossible 
to exercise here/' Of this position I felt 
not quite assured; but concealing what I 
had seen, desired him to proceed. — My 
attention was that moment excited by a 
strange appearance on the floor. '' Can 
this, Michelo, be the effect of the shade 
5 which 



1^0 FATAL revenge; OR, 

which these closed windows throw on the 
jfloor ?" Michelo was silent. '' See where 
it spreads in long, and dusky streaks, and 
eaids just beside that door." — " It is 
bJood," said the old man, shivering. — 
"' Blood!" I repeated; "this stain that 
overspreads half the room! impossible; 
to produce this there must have been a 
massacre, not a murder in this apartment.** 
*' It is blood,'" said the old man, rising, 
and feebly following me, as I examined 
the traces — ''here it fell; and here, 
splashes of it are on this wall, as if it had 
been forced out by violence; and at this 
door, all appearances of it cease." — I 
paused; all those dispersed causes and ap- 
pearances, that had hitherto floated vague- 
ly in my mind, exciting only a partial 
and unproductive emotion of fear, or won- 
der, or anxiety, now rushed on it with 
collected for^e, and produced one appall- 
ing conviction. *' Here has been murder, 
JVlichelo; and you who know in whose 

veins 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 191 

IS this blood has flowed; you who 
e perhaps present at that hour, a wit- 
less to that deed ; ycu preserve an 
Dbdurate silence ; though perhaps your 
strange sufferings are owing to the visits 
>f the victim; though perhaps it lin- 
gers near this spot, where its blood was 
ooured, unabsolved, and unrequired ; 
bough perhaps its shroudless form was 
icen to-night, wandering in the passages 
>f this chamber ' — '' Pursue your path/' 
md the okl man, with solemnity, *• whi- 
:her a hand mightier than mine seems to 
:onduct you ; I can lead you but a little 
iray; my time is brief, and ray task 
restrained; I would willingly have fo!- 
<»fc'ed on, but a power, I may not resist, 
»ith-holds me." — Pursuing the traces, we 
aad reached the other apartment, here 
they had ceased; but in my impatience 
of discover)', I again adverted, to the 
iarring looseness of the floor, and the 
lamp and death-like steam thru floated 
through it. I strode 



192 FATAL REVENGE ; OR^, 

I Strode across the room, it shook under 
me ; frantic with impatience, I resolved 
to rend the boards asunder ; a task my 
strength would have been easily equal to^ 
and which would probably give some re- 
lief or object to my mind, which now 
could scarce support its feelings, wrought 
up as they had been to a pitch, solemn, 
severe, and terrible. — '' Forbear, forbear, '■ 
Signor," said Michelo, " solitary as these ^ 
apartments seem, there is one who visits 
them ; the Count, your father, I have 
too sure proof, repairs, at tbe appointed 
time, to these chambers; oh, fear his 
vengeance, should he discover that other 
feet beside his own, had trod these bloody 
floors, his vengeance is terrible !*' — 
*' Twice,'* said I, eagerly grasping at his 
words, '^ twice, Michelo, have you utter- 
ed these words: that thev have a meaning 
beyond common fear, is evident; and 
whatever that meaning may be, I will 
know it before I quit this spot : what have 

vou 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 193 

you known or felt of his vengeance?" 
'' His vengeance is terrible/' said 2. voice, 
deep and distinct, beside me. " Again 
you have repeated it/' I said, for impa- 
tience had confused my perceptions. '' 1 
spoke not, I breathed not," said Michelo, 
aghast, and clinging to me ; '' a voice 
issued from the wall; quit this spot, for 
holy St. Gennaro's sake, quit this spot, 
if yet we may quit it alive/' 

I was not, like him, congealed and 
rendered helpless by fear ; but I suffered 
perhaps more from the keenness and 
strength of my own perceptions. Resist 
it as we may, the presence, or the fear 
of the presence of the dead, is almost in- 
tolerable. We endure it in a tale, because 
it is a tale; and the consciousness of 
fiction produces a balance with the pain 
of credulity. But I was oppressed by 
evidence that appeared irresistible, and 
I felt the natural fear, which I have in 
common with the peasant, and the child, 

VOL. I. K and 



194 FATAL EEVENCE ; OR, 

and which my improved perceptions per- 
haps magnified with many an iinfelt and 
subtle circumstance of addition. I deli- 
berated a moment; a gush of visionary 
heroism came to my mind, and I resolved 
to examine the flooring, when Michelo, 
unable to speak, grasped my arm, and 
pointed to the opposite wall. My eye 
followed his involuntarily; they rested 
on the figure of an armed man in the 
tapestry, whose bold and prominent out- 
lines rendered it even strongly visible in 
that dim light. A weapon which it held, 
was pointed in the direction I was about 
to explore; the head was thrown back, 
and the features of a strong profile were 
fixed on the same direction. As I gazed 
on hj the large eye appeared to live ; it 
moved; it looked at me; it turned to the 
spot, to which the arm pointed, and the 
arm vibrated with a slow and palpable 
motion ; then all became lifeless and dis- 
coloured and dead, as an artificial form. 

What 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 193 

What I had seen and heard, was enough 
for me. I became inflamed, impelled, 
exalted; a certain supernal dignity ming- 
led with my feelings, I felt myself the 
summoned agent of destiny, yet not the 
less did I feel that I was surrounded by 
hDrrors ; that I was treading v*^here the 
Iving inhabited not; that I was called by 
"soices nature shudders to hear. But they 
rppeared to me the instruments by which 
I was appointed to work out some great 
purpose, and I grasped them with a con- 
vulsed but daring hand. 

I began to examine the apartment. In 
every part of the wainscot under it, pannels 
had been detached and shattered by age and 
neglect. But they only betrayed the solid 
wall. One that appeared less impaired than 
the rest, I examined therefore moreclosely. 
It resisted ; but strength^ such as 1 felt at 
that moment, was not easily resisted; and 
I soon wrenched it from the wainscot. 
The cloud of dust that followed, was soon 
K 2 dispersed. 



106 FATAL revenge; or, 

dispersed, and I discovered steps rugged 
and unequal, and feebly lit, winding 
within it. I addressed a few words of 
comfort and courage to Michelo, who 
leant exhausted against the wall, and pre- 
pared to descend them. He attemptel 
feebly to dissuade me; I heard him not. 
The stairs, down which I attempted n 
vain to descend steadily, appeared fron 
the roughness of their formation, to have 
been scooped out of the wall ; a disco- 
loured light seemed to stream on them 
from a grating which appeared at a vast 
height in the roof above me. The dust 
that rose under every step, scarce permit- 
ted me to distinguish them; and the heavy 
steams I had observed in the adjacent 
chamber, seemed to constitute the very: 
atmosphere of this passage. 

The steps, decending for some time, ter-i 

minated in a door which no key could open, 

and no effort could force; and Michelo, who 

had now followed me, declared he knew not, 

2 nor 



THE FAMILY OF MeNTORIO. 197 

nor could conjecture from his knowledge 
of the castle, where that door conducted. 
Here all progress seemed to be suspended ; 
and I looked around me with a desponding 
eye. That some secret was within my 
reach, 1 was convinced; and to lose its 
knowledge, after so much expectation and 
toil, appeared insupportable. My very 
exertions reproached me with my want of 
success. The very dull and murky still- 
ness of the place seemed to offer a mock- 
ery to my inquietude. 

Reluctantly as I returned, still examining 
every object, I observed a part of the wall, 
where there seemed a rejxular fracture, run- 
ning through the stones in nearly a square 
direction; I applied my hand to it, it shook 
under the pressure, and a large portion of 
detached rubbish fell at my ^eet I felt 
inspirited ; with the assistance of Michelo, 
I soon discovered, under a thin coat of 
plaster, that mouldered at the touch, a 
door, that had nothing else to conceal or 

to 



IQS FATAL HEVENCE ,* OR, 

to fasten it. I dragged it open, it discover- 
ed a dim cavity, barely wide enough to ad- 
mit me. I entered it, stooping and con- 
tracted, and from its narrow dimensions 
(partly by feeling, and partly from the 
pale light the grating still afforded me,) 
soon discovered a kind of rude chest, dis- 
jointed and ill-secured. With an impatience 
•which urged me to violence, I endeavour- 
ed to rend it open. From the loose and 
lumbering rattle of its contents, I had a 
shuddering suspicion what they were. I 
yet persisted; Michelo, who appeared 
animated by a sudden impulse of his own, 
endeavoured to assist me. With the feverish 
strength of eager weakness I succeeded. 
The decayed pannelsgave way. Ippolito, 
oh Ippolito! — my hand touched the mealy 
and carious bones of a skeleton ! the dry 
limbs clattered as the pannels fell about. 
The light fell on the head, as it lay, and 
gave a deadlier holiowness to the cavities 
of the mouth and eyes. Panting and pale, 

I staggered 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 199 

I staggered back; the heat of exertion and 
pursuit was over; I had reached a terrible 
point of proof; the mute and ghastly 
"witness before me spoke. Murder hurtl- 
ed in mine ears, as 1 viewed it^ yet still 
I was uncertain and dioquieted. The 
crime was revealed, but the object and 
agents were still unknown. 

Meanwhile I saw Michelo bend over the 
corpse, and examine it with attention ; I saw 
him shudder, and clasp his hands. There is 
a state of mind, in which we only converse 
b)' actions. I hastened to him, and enter- 
ing the den, surveyed the skeleton again. 
Michelo, with strong and speechless ex- 
pression, pointed ta one of its w^asted 
arms ; the hand had been severed from it. 
We looked on each other as conscious that 
each was brooding on his own convictions. 
At length I spake, and felt myself articu- 
late with difficulty. " Michelo, does your 
knowledge of past events, suggest any 
thing that might explain this spectacle } 

If 



200 FATAL revenge; OR, 

If it may, oh forbear to wrong your own 
soul, and the soul of the murdered, by 
longer concealment/' The old man smote 
his breast, and crossed himself. " I am 
innocent," he murmured, " I am inno- 
cent ; but thi ; object brings to my me- 
mory a report I had long forgotten, and 
which, when I had heard, I considered 
but as some tale which ignorance had 
invented to dissolve the mystery of that 
terrible night. It was whispered by 
many, that, on that night, some one had 
been privately brought into the castle, 
murdered, and interred in some unknown 
part of it ; who he was, and for what 
cause, or by whom he was dispatched, 
none pretended to tell.'' 

This account, though it increased my 
suspicions, did not diminish my perplexity. 
That some unhallowed deed had been done 
on that night, so often referred to, seemed 
certain; the hand thathaddone it, appeared 
shrouded from all human view or inquisi- 
tion. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 20T 

tion. — '^ xtlichelo ! — one question more, 
and I shall cease for ever to importune 
you : Do you believe this to be the 
body of my uncle, of Count Orazio ?" — 
*' From many circumstances, Signor, I 
should have been led to fear, this was the 
body of the late Count ; but others would, 
seem to contradict it. — But why s ould I 
wish to suggest to you, that he was mur- 
dered?'* 

'' Here, it is said," he continued, ''bells 
have tolled, and forms have moved. — 
Sometimes, long processions, with blazing 
lights, have been seen gliding past the 
windows; and sometimes a burst of voices, 
of no human tone, have been heard 
chaunting the funeral chaunt,'* 

*' These are tales, Michelo, told and be- 
lieved promiscuously every where by the 
vulgar and the timid.*' — " Aye, but Signor, 
I myself have seen" — '' What have you 
seen ?" '' Things, Signor, that prevented 
my being much surprised at the discovery 
K 5 we 



902 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

we have recently made. I have seen lights 
moving, and heard sounds issuing from 
those apartments, at a time when I knew 
no human cause could have produced 
either," '' Were the appearances you 
mention, similar to those that occurred in 
the ruined chapel ?" " Ask me no more, 
Signor," said the old man, " as far, and 
farther than was in my power to gratify 
it, your curiosity has been satisfied : let us 
quit this dismal place/' 

His words seemed to awake me from a 
trance. That momentary courage, which 
the emergency had invested me with, 
seemed suddenly to desert me. I looked 
around me; two lonely beings, shuddering 
over a discovery which conveyed nothing 
but terror to them, by the dim evening 
light, in the rem.ote and long- deserted 
towers of an ancient castle, far from the 
comfort of human aid or presence, and 
feeling that they were unable to en- 
counter an additional circumstance or ob- 
ject 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 205 

ject of fear, yet dreading lest, while they 
lingered, some other would overtake 
them; — two such beings I felt myself and 
Alichelo to be, and started at the convic- 
tion. The confidence of the delegate of 
heaven was over: I felt myself a timid 
human being, encompassed by things, and 
the fear of things, which nature shrinks 
from ; and only anxious to escape by a 
blind and hasty extrication from them; — 
like a child, that by shutting his eyes, and 
walking speedily past some spot of terror, 
imagines itself to be safe. 

I turned from the revolting spectacle 
before me : 1 looked along the dim 
and narrow passage ; I wondered at m^ 
own temerity in exploring it. A few 
moments past, and I felt as if nothing 
could check my progress ; at the pre- 
sent, nothing could impel me to pursue 
it. For a moment I wondered at myself, 
and almost ascribed the change to an in- 
fluence that made part of the wonders 

of 



g04r FATAL REVENGE f OR, 

of the place. But the lassitude that mixed 
with my timidity, dissolved the wonder, 
I discovered it was only the natural re- 
iTiission of over-stimulated feeling; and 
that if heaven was pleased to employ my 
agency, it would prevent the confidence 
of its instrument being inflated by pre- 
sumption, by leaving him at intervals to 
the infirmities of his nature, to his com- 
mon habits of impulse and cessation, to 
those usual ebbs and flows of mind, which 
prove to us, that our best frames are 
of imperfect influence, and interrupted 
length. 

I assisted Michelo, by the light that 
^et remained, to All up the cavity with 
.he stones and rubbish we had removed 
from it, and then preparer' to quit the 
stairs. As we returned, I endeavoured 
to forbear looking at its dark and silent 
wails; at the roof, where the light ap- 
peared so pale and so distant, it reminded 
me of that which streams on the hollow 

eye 



THE FAMILY OF . ORIO. 205 

eye of a captive^ through the bars of his 
dungeon. Nay, on the rucl-^, uncouth 
steps themselves, that seemed just fit to 
be pressed by the assassin, stealing to the 
bed of sleep, or bearing away his prey to 
deposit it in some den such as we had dis- 
covered. But, wherever I looked, I found 
some food for sombre thought. I quick- 
ened my pace. 

In our hurried passage through the ca- 
binet and the chamber, we walked with 
silent and breathless fear, grasping each 
other, and endeavouring to fix our eyes 
on the floor ; yet feeling they were every 
moment involuntarily raised to meet the 
approach of something w^e did not dare 
to intimate to each other. We had now 
reached the stairs, by which we were 
hasting to descend, when we distinctly 
heard, in the apartment we had just 
quitted, the loud tread of a foot that 
seemed to be pursuing us. Michelo, stu- 
pified by fear, was lingering at the top of 

the 



206 FATAL revenge; or, 

the stairs; with a desperate effort, I 
dragged him along with me, and hurried 
down. 

The tread came yet louder and quicker 
behind us; I dared not to look behind; 
I rushed on with headlong blindness, 
dragging my breathless companion with 
me. 

The foot came nearer and nearer; I 
could feel the stairs bending under its 
pressure behind me ; every moment I 
dreaded to feel the indenture of its "fiery 
fang.'' But we had now reached the door 
communicating with the passage — I drag- 
ged it open, and with that involuntary 
provision, which fear often makes against 
its objects, with averted head, I drew it 
after me, and locked it, while I thought 
I heard the murmurs of a voice within, 
but whether its tones were those of pain 
or terror, I could not discover. Whatever 
might be the power of our pursuer, he 
then ceased to exert it; no sound pursued 

us. 



THE FAMILY 07 MONTORIO. 207 

US, and we encountered no object. We 
made a hasty and silent progress through 
the passage, and regained the inhabited 
part of the castle without observation. 

By these events, I have neither been 
enlightened nor assured ; I have been 
only perplexed and terrified. I have re- 
flected, but without attaining conviction. 
I have debated, but without forming a re- 
solution. Sometimes my exertion appears 
temerity, and sometimes my supineness 
cowardice ! 

Am I the agent of heaven, or the dupe 
of fear and deception ? — Was the voice I 
heard, intended to summon or forbid ? — • 
Has the arm been bared to beckon or to 
repel ? — Shall I pause, or shall I proceed ? 

In this dark and turbid state, I look at 
the picture of Erminia — and taste a mo- 
mentary, a delicious calm. Adio. 



CHAP. 



208 FATAL kevenge; ok. 



CHAP. XL 



Ut assidens implumibus puUis avis 
Serpentium allapsus timet 
Magis relictis ; non, ut adsit, auxilii 
Latura plus praesentibus — — — — 

Horace. 

i 

Thus, if the motlier-blrd f... ^ake 

Her unfledged young, she dreads the glidiJiig snake, 

With deeper agonies afraid, 

Not that her presence could afford them aid. 

Francis. 



By the time this letter had arrived at Na- 
ples, Ippolito's habits of gloom and ab- 
straction had increased. The scenes of 
passing enjoyment, he had some times 
permitted to checquer that gloom, he had 

now 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 209 

now relinquished ; and except the hours 
that he attended that summons, his whole 
time was occupied in feeding gloomy 
thought with solitude. When this letter 
arrived, none of the servants would ven- 
tuie to disturb their once-undreaded mas- 
ter; and Cyprian, who heard them debating^ 
seized the opportunity of venturing into 
liis presence. Ippolito had been for some 
hours alone in his own apartment : Cy- 
prian, with the letter in his hand, knocked 
at the door; a voice, of which the tones 
had never been harsh before, demanded^ 
'*' Who was there ?" '*' I am afraid to an- 
swer to that voice,'' said Cyprian, '' speak 
in another tone, and 1 will say, 'tis Cy- 
prian." " You may enter,*' said Ippolito. 
Cyprian approached timidly. His master 
was extended on a sopha ; his eyes were 
shaded by his hand ; his attitude bespoke 
a wish to counter-balance mental in- 
quietude with bodily ease. " This is a 

letter 



SIO FATAL KEVENGE ; OR, 

letter from youv brother/' said Cyprian, 
offerinor it with an unnoticed hand. After 
a moment's pause, he left it down, and 
placed himself before the sopha with fold- 
ed arms. " Why do you wait }" said Ip- 
polito, in a hollow and languid tone. 
" I know not why I wait/' said Cyprian^ 
whose anguish now burst forth in tears, 
and who hurried towards the door — " I 
know not why I live ; there is neither joy 
nor use in me now; I know not why I live." 
Blind with his tears, he endeavoured in: 
vain to open the door, when Ippolito, 
starting from the sopha, intercepted him. 
*^ Pardon me, Cyprian, I knew not it was 
you; I heard the tones of your voice, but 
I felt not you were near me. Pardon me; 
Cyprian. For many days past, my senses 
have been dull and distempered; the 
vigils of my nights have disturbed them. 
Even now, while I gaze upon you, you 
seem to me not as you ought; and should 

you 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 21 I 

you change while I look upon you, to 
some strange shape, such as I have lately 
seen, 1 could scarce feel surprise." 

" Oh, do not talk thus," said Cyprian, 
" v/hat shapes and what sufferings are these 
you talk of? What dream of visionary 
anguish pursues and preys upon you ? 
What invisible arm has torn you from life 
and enjoyment, and chained you down in 
a prison-house of pain and solitude ? Are 
you persecuted by the power of the living 
or of the dead? I am importunate, perhaps, 
for 1 am fearless. Two days — two dreadful 
days, I have been deprived of your sight ; 
your sight which is the very food of my 
existence. A thousand times in that pe- 
riod have I approached your door — list- 
ening for a cheerful sound or motion to 
encouraore me to enter : with a breakinoj 
heart I wandered back, for I heard only 
your heavy groans. But I am so miser- 
able ; all fear of your displeasure has 

ceased ; 



S12 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

ceased; I will even support that, if you 
will not drive me from you ; chide, and 
look sternly on me, if you can, but let 
me be near you: the sound of your voice 
will repay me for any thing it can utter. 
The image of your anguish, when absent, 
and im.agined, is a thousand times more 
terrible, than present; or perhaps the sight 

of you, makes all suffering light/' 

" You would be near me," said Ip- 
polito, appearing to collect with difficulty 
what had been said ; " You do not 
know, then, that misery is contagious?" 
'' Misery V* echoed Cyprian, '' whence,, 
oh ! whence, is this perverse repining of 
self-inflicted suffering ? If you murmur, 
who shall not be suffered to groan ? Oh, 
too lovely — too brilliant — too bright, as 
you are — more like the gay phantom of a 
youthful wish, than a human being, the 
destined partaker of infirmity and suffer- 
ing — you seem almost without a wish, as 

without 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 213 

without a fear. What is this sirocco of the 
mind, that bursts forth in the summer- 
noon of life, and blasts the freshness of 
its enjoyments? Why need I enumerate 
blessings you cannot be blind to — for of 
the distinctions of nature none are forget- 
ful ? Why need I remind you what, oh ! 
what you are?'* ^' You need not remind 
me what I am. I know, I feel it but too 
well. T am a pursued, a haunted, a per- 
secuted being. The helpless prey of an 
invisible tormentor. Cyprian, a cruel, 
an inward fire consumes me. The springs 
of life, the sources of enjoyment, are dried 
up within me. I feel the energies of my 
mind seared and withered by the contem- 
plation of a terrible subject, as the eyes 
would be, by being fixed on an object of 
intense and scorching heat; yet I cannot 
withdraw them. One subject, one only 
subject is involuntarily present with me — 
wherever I turn i behold it — whatever I 

do 



214 FATAL KEVENGE; OR, 

do it is mingled with. Nay, when from 
the weariness of over-wrought suffering, 
I become almost vacant of thought or 
feeling, a dumb and sullen sense of pain 
mixes its leaven with those moments of 
unconsciousness. 

You have wrung this from me, Cy- 
prian, by your cruel pity, superfluously 
cruel to yourself and to me. Your suffer- 
ings may be increased by the communica- 
tion of mine ; but mine cannot be dimi- 
nished by your participation of them. 
1 bore the storm long to shelter you; 
now you have exposed your feebleness 
to it ; and I can no longer enjoy the dig- 
nity of solitary suffering, or the aid of 
valid support." — ''Oh, no,'' said Cyprian, 
** you know not the power and office of 
strong affection ; it loves not to mix its 
beam with the summer-blaze of joy; to 
add its note to the choral song of flattery 
and pleasure ; it reserves them for the 

dark^ 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 215 

dark, disastrous hour, ^vhen the amazed 
sufferer looks round on a desert world ; 
when, what he thought he held, is dust 
within his grasp ; when, what he hoped, 
to trust to, is a reed under his steps. 
Then is the power, and the hour of strong 
affection; then it rushes to him; it grasps 
him by the cold hand ; it speaks words of 
comfort in his stunned and frozen ears; 
it clings to him with all the strength of its 
being, with powers stronger than suffering 
and death; it abides the conflict of the 
dark hour; and enters the valley of the 
shadow of death, with its companion. For 
such is its true nature and power ; such 
emergencies only develope and realize 
them; among such only it expands it 
powers, it feels its existence; nay, it seeks 
its reward. Tell me not therefore of sor- 
row or of suffering; 'tis there fore 1 seek, and 
'ivill not leave you. Something whispers me, 
tliis is an hour of confidence, not of de- 
jection; 



216 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

jection; that I can do much to serve and 
to save you; that I can perform something 
that will make men wonder at the energy 
of zealous weakness. Montorio, I love 
you, I love you; and to that name nothing 
is impossible. Montorio, I will examine 
your heart; and you will confess the 
cause, when I have discovered it.*' — '' For- 
bear, my gentle, my darling boy, forbear; 
you spread your little slender branches to 
the storm that heeds you not; in passing 
it will lay you in the dust, and rush to me 
unobstructed. Cyprian, I have had a sore 
struggle ; the enemy has assailed me with 
terrible strength once and again ; my 
strength and my defences are declining ; 
and he will yet prevail; yes, he will pre- 
vail, and have me yet in his dark thrall.'' 
" Oh why do we thus magnify the 
trivial distresses of life," said Cyprian, 
^^ with words of such melancholy and 
mysterious import, that while we listen 

to 



THE FAMILY OF xMONTORIO. 217 

10 them, we almost persuade ourselves 
we are suffering something humanity 
never suffered before^ and claim such dig- 
nity from their support, or such wonder 
from their confession, that at length we 
begin to find a delight in misery. You 
have perhaps encountered some common 
evil, some visitation of human infirmity, 
or of youthful deviation; your mind, 
generous, noble, and fostered by long 
luxury, starts from the prospect of pain, 
or the recollection of error. But fear not 
yet; yours viust, must have been a venial 
one; and ifyour own reflections have an- 
ticipated the censures of society, you may 
listen to them with the calmness of re- 
established rectituds, nor suffer them to 
interrupt the even direction of the mind, 
that has regained the p:;th of right." 
^' And do I hear Cyprian," said Ippoiito, 
*' confounding the complexions of good 
and evil, and teaching an honourable mind 
to forego that susceptibility of praise from 
VOL. 1 L which 



218 FATAL revenge; or, 

which it derives its best security, as well as 
its highest reward ? Is this my monitor?" 
"^ Oh forgive me, forgive me/' said Cy- 
prian, " for your own sake ; 'tis you have 
corrupted my judgment and my heart. 
My love for you has made me almost 
annihilate the distinctions of good and 
evil. When I look on you, Montorio, I 
cannot believe you guilty, your mind I 
cannot think less perfect than your form ; 
and the dreadful deception practised on 
my own judgment, I endeavour, with 
guilty fondness, to extend to yours. How 
have I laboured to restore you to the paths 
of purity and peace, from which your 
lavish youths and glowing temptations had 
caused a noble heart to deviate ! How 
have I watched and warned ! How have I 
toiled and importuned ! How have I trem- 
bled and prayed for you ! This one great 
point and object of my life, what could 
compel me to counteract ? What, but the 
strong affection that compelled me to 

undertake 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 219 

undertake it. I find I cannot bear to 

behold you suffer. I saw you erring, and 

I hazarded life; yes, hazarded life, to re- 

cal and reclaim you. But when I saw you 

suffer, I could only weep, and be guilty; 

II forgot the great purpose of my mission; 

11 forgot I was your monitor; and remem- 

Iberedonly Iloved; forgive me, Montorio, 

for your own sake forgive me." — " I will 

i forgive you every thing. Cyprian, but this 

waste of lavish love, on a wretch whom it 

'Wounds but cannot profit"'— "Oh yet, do not 

ssay so: I have great resources; more than of 

3 hope or of advice ; substantial resources. 

What is this heavy load of mind ? 

Montorio, I have marked your nightly 

wanderings. Have you been seduced 

to the feverish vigils of the gamesters? 

have you become the wretched thing of 

calculations and chances ; the agitn*.d 

sport of knavish skill ; the ruined dupe 

of confederate deception ? Oh thank the 

blessed saints for the wholesome lesson 

I 2 of 



220 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

of your ruin. In that dreadful pursuit, 
to succeed is certainly to be lost ; though 
to be ruined, is possibly to be saved. Be 
not yet dejected ; the riches of your house 
are immense, and your father, though I 
have heard stern and severe, is proud, and 
will not suffer the honour of his family to 
be impaired by debt: or should your losses 
•not require the fortunes of a house to 
repair them, I have resources, Montorio ; 
resources, happily stored up against this 
hour of pressure; take them, my beloved^ 
take all/' — "Forbear, Cyprian, forbear; 
your conjecture is erroneous: mine are* 
not the vigils of a gamester: miserable asj 
Ij knov^ them to be, I could almost wish^ 
they were." — " Oh what is this,'* saidj 
Cyprian, distressed and amazed, '' what] 
is this more terrible than misery and; 
ruin ? Do I read another cause in your' 
pale and listless lip ; in your darkened 
cheek; in your fixed eye? Such, they 
say, are the looks of those who love. 

Do 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 221 



Do you love, Montorio? Alas, is it pos- 
sible you can love, and yet despair ! 
Oh, no, no; too happy woman! too 
happy, methinks, for the indulgence of 
allowed caprice; too happy, for the petty, 
prescriptive triumph of her disdain ; she 
cannot have punished herself to give you 
pain; or if she has, let her behold you 
nov/; now in this seducing shade of me- 
lancholy beauty; andshe must —she will — 
oh why that groan, Montorio? Can you, 
oh can you be the victim of love, of law- 
less passion? Alas, what shall I say ! 
I have heard of wretched, wretched 
women, who can love for gold ; who 
would take deformity and decrepitude to 
their arms, instead of even you, if they 
could outweigh you in the price of their 
body's and soul's perdition ; for such you 
cannot long languish : alas, what am I 
saying? Oh spare me, spare me, my be- 
loved ; make me not the reluctant agent 
of pollution ; tear not from my agonized 

affection^ 



T2^ FATAL REV£KGE; Ot, 

affection;, its long, its last, cherished in- 
tegrity, Alas, alas, such is the madness 
of ray guilty love ; I can bear to see you 
criminal, but cannot, cannot bear to see 
you miserable/' — " Perplex yourself no 
more with this mental casuistry; torture 
yourself no longer with the superfluous 
remorse of imputed guilt ; I cannot give 
you the consolation of thinking mine is 
a case of common suffering, or within the 
reach of ordinary relief; would, oh would 
I were the subject of any, or all the suf- 
ferings you could name, rathtr than what 
I am:' 

Cyprian w^s silent from the perplexity 
of severe dismay. At every gradation of 
their conference, he had drawn closer to 
fppolito, and now pressing his hand, he 
murmured feebly, '' If that last, and 
dreadful guilt, the brand of civilized 
society, the dreadful imposition of an 
abitrary phantom, be yours; if you have 
hurried from earth, and from hope, your 

rash. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 233 

rash, offending brother; andif for a crime 
man could not forgive, you have sent 
him to answer for all before the Judge; his 
course unfinished, his task unfulfilled, his 
soul unabsolved, his salvation unobtained; 
if you have found that what society can 
palliate and pardon, conscience cannot; 
oh yet is there a dawn of hope! If the 
agents of justice or of revenge pursue 
you, let us fly, oh let us fly, this land of 
perverted and bloody manners; where 
the sore alternative of infamv or "iuilt, 
urges the revolting hand of virtue, to 
deeds^ its praise cannot purify, nor its 
sanction expiate. Oh, let us fiy, and the 
prayers of good and holy men shall be 
with us for good : there is a blessed vir- 
tue in those, and the offices of our holy 
faith, to obtain peace and remission for 
the soul so sore beset." — '' Can murder 
then be forgiven } and if the bare crime, 
under strong temptation, and most urgent 
cause, hardly dare plead for mercy ; what 

shall 



^^i fAtal revenge ; OK, 

shall be said for murder, impelled by no 
motive, justified by no pretext, sheltered 
by no confederacy? For guilt, laborious, 
determined, inveterate ? And this, oh all 
this is nothing to the shades of this dark 
\ision." — " I understand not this terrible 
language/' said Cyprian, v^ho looked 
aghast. ''If you have any thing to dis- 
close, tell it quicklvj for my senses are 
dull, and I am wearied with pleading," 
*' I have a tale to tell, but it is not for 
ycur ears;*' he rose hastily, he grasped 
Cyprian's arm, '' wretched boy, why have 
you allied yourself to me, why will you 
cling to me with this helpless force ? I 
am hunted and hard-pressed; every night, 
listen, Cyprian, every night a fire is kind- 
led in my heart; a dagger is put into my 
hand; the midnight ministers of destiny 
are round me; they urge — they impel, 
me, onward — onward : — all around me is 
still — the stillness ofdreadful preparation. 
My approach cannot be calculated; my 

blow 



THE FAMILY OT MONTORIO. 22.1 

blow cannot be averted; my victim cannot 
resist; my associates cannot betray; yet I 
linger- — ^yet I would shrink — yet I would 
retreat : but my fate cannot be resisted. — 
No, no^ no; my fate cannot be resisted." 
Cyprian listened in helpless horror. 

Ippolito approached the window; he 
leant against the foliaged lattice; the 
breeze of evening blew back his dark hair. 
Cyprian gazed on him with that mingled 
pang of anguish and love, of which the 
bitterness is more than of death. In those 
visions in which the mind wanders for 
relief, under the pressure of suffering, 
but finds it only deepened and refined, 
he imagined he beheld thoss rich locks 
rent in distraction; that yet glowing cheek 
hollow and pale; that noble form wrecked 
and defaced by suffering; he felt a pang- 
that must not be told; and scarce sup- 
pressed the cry that darted to his lips. — ■ 
Ippolito leant against the casement ; 
it looked into the garden of the palace; 
L 5 the 



226 FATAL REVENGE ,* OR^ 

the breeze that breathed over groves of 
rose and orange, played on his cheek; the 
setting suu sent his beams through the 
twinkling foliage; they tinged with ruddy 
amber, they fleckered the waters of a 
fountain, that gurgled among them, and 
whose bason where the waters, that play- 
ed in silver showers in the centre, lay still 
and deep, gave back the bright and lovely 
blue of the heavens, without a spot, and 
without a shade. — Ippolito remained silent 
long; at length, *' I behold all this,*' said 
he, *' joyless and unmoved; the burthen 
that sits so heavy on my soul, has oppress- 
ed my senses too. Or is it that I am al- 
ready become a disastrous, discordant atom 
amid these elements of harmony and love. 
And am I already at war with nature ? Oh 
how dreadful to be an alien from our own 
system and species; not to be able to 
drink the evening breeze; or glow with 
the setting beams of the sun; not even to 
know the pleasure those insects are tasting 
5 in 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. S27 

in his rays. To wish in vain for the quiet 
life of the fountain that flows, of the leaf 
that falls. But no, no, no; to be forced 
to agency ; to be invested with dreadful 
responsibility; to hew out with groaning 
toil, the weight that is to crush me to 
atoms; is there no other task for me, 
amid the thousand, thousand lines of hu- 
man life, branching and intersecting ia 
endless motion, and infinite directions ? 
Is there not one for me but this ? And for 
me, whose heart never harboured a pur- 
pose of enmity to living thing; who knew 
not what men meant by hatred } In my 
days of childhood, Cyprian, I have for- 
born to disturb the insect that fluttered 
round me, to crush the reptile that crawled 
beneath me ; and I must — must — and is 
there no repeal? And is thefe no retreat? 
Author of my being and of my fate ! hear 
my groans! hear my despair! — Father, 
they are not the groans of a rebel heart ! 
it is not the despair of daring outrage ! 

but 



228 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

but spare me; spare me." 

He rent his hair by handfuls, he cast him- 
self upon the ground. Cyprian, terrified, 
but unrestrained, fell beside him, and at- 
tempted to raise and to sooth him. In a 
few moments, he sprang from the ground^; 
he stood erect, but tottering; his hair was 
dishevelled, his hands were clenched, his 
eyes were inflamed and wandering, his 
face was varied by a thousand shades; but 
a fixed and burning spot of crimson tinged 
kis cheek, " Whither do you go,-' cried 
Cyprian, grasping him as he endeavoured 
to rush from the apartment. " To the 
theatre, to the gambling-house, to the 
brothel," he roared, " to floods of wine, 
to songs of madness; — this cannot be 
borne ; off, release me, or will you ac- 
company me, Cyprian, to dissipation, to 
irenzy, to ruin.*' 

No prayers could pacify, and no strug- 
gles could withhold him : he seized his 
sword and cloak, and rushed from the pa- 
lace. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 259 

lace, madly calling on Cyprian to follow 
him. The unhappy Cyprian paused; this 
moment seemed to him the critical one of 
his life and happiness. To be seen in the 
streets of Naples, was to encounter a cer- 
tain and terrible death. He had so long 
considered life merely as a medium of ser- 
vice to his master, that this consideration 
would scarce have detained him to exa- 
mine it. But what hope in pursuing the 
career of a maniac.'^ What profit to Ippo- 
lito in witnessing those orgies he could 
save him from no longer? He lingered a 
moment; strong afTectioti triumphed, and 
he felt the danger of exposing himself, and 
the despair of serving his master, vanish 
before that sad and nameless pleasure, 
v/hich we feel from the simple act of 
clinging to the persons of those we love ; 
even when aid is impossible, and consola- 
tion fruitless. He followed INIontorio, 
but he followed him with tottering steps; 
nor could the impassioned strength of his 

feelings 



g30 FATAL hevenge; or, 

feelings resist the shock he felt on being 
for the first time on foot, and unprotected 
in the streets of Naples. Feeble and terri- 
fied, he yet tried to keep up with the 
hurried pace of Ippolito; who, with that 
lightning-burst of generous feeling, that 
blazed even through the storm of his pas- 
sions, turned to him, spoke some consoling 
but incoherent words, and then support- 
ing him with his arm, hurried on. From 
time to time of their progress, Cyprian 
endeavoured to breathe a few soothing 
sounds; but the anguish with which the 
sight of Ippolito's fevered cheek, and 
fixed eye struck him, drove them back 
to his heart; or if uttered, they were so 
inarticulate, that Ippolito was insensible 
of them. They proceeded with astonishing 
rapidity, but without any apparent object, 
till Cyprian, with the provisional caution 
of fear, tried as he passed, to distinguish 
the windings of the streets, among which 
he feared, he might. shortly be left desert- 
ed 



~ 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 231 

ed and alone. They reached in a short 
time the extremity of that part of the city 
where the Montorio palace stood ; they 
entered a dark, lonely inclosiire. Ippolito 
who appeared to have been lulled into 
vacancy by the hum and concourse of the 
streets through which they passed, now 
paused and looked around him eagerly, as 
if struck by the stillness and solitude of the 
place. " Why have we wandered here?" 
said Cyprian, timidly ; *' Because^" said 
Ippolito, in broken tones, '' because it is 
wild, and dark, and deserted, because it 
is meet for the ' unt of ruin, and wretch- 
edness. I love to gaze on this stilly 
gloom; lo hear the hollow wind that stirs 
the trees : — w^ould, the evening-shades 
would settle on this spot for ever ; would, 
I could dose away being and consciousness 
here in stunned and stupid listlessness/' 

He leant against one of the trees; his 
cloak folded on his arm. Twice with a 
full heart, Cyprian tried to speak, but 

could 



\ 



232 FATAL revenge; 0% 

could not form a sound. Ippolito heard 
the murmurs of inarticulate distress near 
him. " Are you there stilly, Cyprian, 
will you still cling to me? Leave me, 
oh leave me to myself; to the dark fight 
I must encounter alone. Cyprian, you 
might as well attempt to stop the pro- 
gress of the night that is spreading round 
us, as of that darker and portentous ga- 
thering that involves me; go from me, 
and be safe ; why should I destroy you ; 
sweet and innocent boy, approach me 
not, love me not. But forme, you might 
have flourished in stainless and joyful puri- 
ty; but you xvould tempt the fate of a ruined 
man ; you would go side by side with me in 
that dark untravelled pat?!, which we must 
tread in suffering, and terminate in despair. 
Go from me, while I yet can warn you, yet 
can commiserate, yet can pity you; a mo- 
ment longer, and 1 shall be wild and 
wreckless a3 the hunted savage that rush- 
es on the weapons of his persecutors, and 

grinds them with his tusks/' 

'' And 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO, 233 

'' And is this then, indeed, our last hour 
of peace and goodness ! — Is agonized 
affection summoned to her last trial-task ? 
Will you indeed be Ippolito no more? — 
I have no more then to say, no more to 
^suffer. — But with my dying hand I must 
hold you ; I must cling to you with that 
strength which overcometh all things, with 
love, which is stron^fer than death ! — I 
know not the fate which awaits you ; it 
comes in mist and cloud; nor am I 
anxious to unfold them, to behold it. 
Suffice it, it is yours. Therefore, by strong 
necessity of love, it must be mine. Of 
my brief and unhappy life, the only ob- 
ject has been ijoii — for you I have lived— ^ 
and I must, must, die with yon'' 

Blind with fears, stiPied with convulsive 
sobs, he grasped Ippolito, who, breaking 
from him, with a \vild unmeaning laugh, 
hastily rushed towards a building, which 
was recently lit up, and to which numbers 
appeared to be thronging. Stupified with 

astonishment. 



^34 FATAt REVENGE ; OR, 

astoniyhinent, Cyprian beheld this change, 
but the instinctive fear of desertion im- 
pelled him to follow. When he entered 
the building, not even his ignorance could 
preserve him from discovering its destina- 
tion. It was a gaming-house, apparently 
of the lowest description, numbers were 
already engaged in the pursuit of the 
evening ; and Ippolito mingled among 
them with a bold and vivacious eagerness, 
which his companion beheld with additional 
anguish. His flushed and impetuous man- 
ner, his vociferous impatience, his noble 
air and figure — while they awed the ma- 
jority, allured a few wily prowlers, who 
believing him to be disarmed by inebriety, 
marked him for a sure and profitable prey. 
Cyprian, aghast, alone, unoticed, stunned 
by the lights, the confusion, and the jar- 
gon, objects as new as revolting to a 
mind of vestal purity, and almost vestal 
seclusion, yet retained his observation, 
which was only preserved by the strength 

of 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 2S5 

of those feelingSj that had exposed him 
ahnost to lose it. From these violent 
vicissitudes he collected, not that Ippolito's 
sufferings were too great for the powers 
of his reason, but that they were too 
great for the powers of resistance in a 
mind which, though not destitute of na- 
tural strength, had been so long accus- 
tomed to artificial resources of pleasure 
and consolation, that finding itself unable 
to adjust its present grievance, by the 
usual balance of extrinsic relief, it writhed 
under it in convulsive despair, and pro- 
duced those throes of grief and fury, of 
gloom and madness, which had been al- 
most as terrible to the witness as to the 
sufferer himself 

He had no long leisure for recollection, 
for Ippolito, whose success had been as 
rapid as it was unexpected, sweeping to- 
gether the money which poured in on him 
from all parts of the table, scattered it 
among some Lazaroni who loitered round 

the 



S35 FATAL REVENGE ; OT,, 

the door, and with a shout of triumpii, 
flew from the oramino:- house. 

Cyprian pursued him with all the speed 
fatigue and fear had left him, but in vain; 
he called on him, but received no an- 
swer; he attempted to follow the direc- 
tion of his steps; hut found he was only 
pursuing a stranger. Then fear and an- 
guish came on him; — a wanderer in a 
populous city, timid, alone, and exposed 
to greater dangers than he appeared to be 
threatened by, for one moment of his 
life he felt a pang in which his feelings 
for Ippolito had no share. He hastened 
on with faint and terriiied speed through 
many streets and avenues, with a blind 
satisfaction in the thought of proceeding, 
yet with increasing alarm at every step, 
till he found himself ao-ain in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Montorio palace. Ippolito 
rushed on his mind — further pursuit of 
him was impossible, yet it was equally 
impossible to Cyprian to desert him. He 

suddenly 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 237 

suddenly bethought himself of going to 
the Alberotti palace, which he knew to be 
at a small distance, and of which he also 
knew the possessor to be Ippolito's uncle^ 
of informing him of the late events, and 
imploring his interference. Wild as this 
scheme was, and obviously involving the 
dangers attendant on Cyprian's being re- 
cognised; he sprang forward, with new 
and eager strength to execute it. But 
on reaching the Albeiotli palace, he found 
the avenues obstructed by carriages, and 
the portico blazing with torches; there 
was a conversazione, at which the greater 
part of the Neapolitan nobility were 
assembled; among whom, detection was 
unavoidable, and death was therefore 
certain. 

From this last resource, he turned away, 
weary in mind and frame; he attempted 
to totter a few paces homevvard, but the 
thought of Ippolito, abandoned to disbipa- 
lion and depravity, stung through his 

heart 



238 FATAL revenge; OK;, 

heart; his limbs failed, he sunk on the 
steps of an adjacent house, and burst 
into that helpless flood of anguish, which 
bespeaks us equally unable to restrain, or 
derive consolation from them. 

The sudden emptiness of the street, the 
mildness of the night, tranquillity, silence, 
and subsiding emotion combined to soften 
him into a kind of placid imbecility. 
The thunder-burst of passion was over, 
and he wept a soft and heavy shower of 
tears. Too much exhausted for acute or 
agonised feeling, the images that had 
passed before him, shed over his mind a 
gleam of melancholy sorrow, not the glare 
of madness and despair. Every image of 
former tenderness or brightness, every 
dream that had once dressed the thought 
of Ippolito in the tints of attraction, or 
the beams of splendour, now aw^akened 
with cruel contrast the sense of his pre- 
sent state; low in vice and in wretched- 
ness, the abasement of his own feelings 

thrilled 



TWE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. i253 

thrilled to his heart, and he felt the difTer- 
ence between those which accompany the 
tear of rapture, and the tear of humbled 
regret; between the being he almost bow- 
ed to worship^ and the being he pursued 
to rescue, and stooped to raise. 

He wept and ^vas refreshed; he rose 
cahn and sad, and endeavoured to return 
to the Montorio palace, with the feeble 
hope, that some intelligence of their way- 
ward master, might have reached the do- 
mestics. As he turned the corner of the 
Strada di Toledo, a lamp burning before 
the image of St. Gennaro caught his eye ; 
and with a smitten eye he turned to pay 
his passing devotions, where he was con- 
scious the perturbed state of his mind had 
too often withheld him from. As he ap- 
proached the lamp, the figure of a man, 
muffled and moving hastily, passed him. 
But no disguise could avail. — " Montorio, 
oh Montorio!'' — he almost shrieked ; — he 
flew from the saint, and pursued the 

figure 



240 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

figure. It moved with a speed that defied 
pursuit ; and the utmost exertion of 
Cyprian's could only keep it in sight. 
\t followed a direction far from the pa- 
lace, and Cyprian at length beheld it at 
some distance enter a spacious house, that 
appeared filled with company. Cyprian 
paused and doubted the evidence of his 
senses; he might be pursuing a stranger, 
and pursuing him where to follow was 
dangerous. He had acquired a kind of local 
courage in these frequent emergencies. 

He saw at a distance two cavaliers of 
sober demeanour, he approached them, 
and in a voice of which the tones were 
like those of a wandering cherub, seeking 
the way to a purer region, demanded 
whose house it was, into which the cavalier 
who had passed them, had entered. The 
older of the cavaliers looked at him for a 
moment — '' Perhaps, Signor," said he, "I 
should, from principle, decline to satisfy 
your inquiry, but as your youth and ap- 
pearance 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 211 

pearance prompt me to hope 'tis not 
urged by a personal motive, I shall inform 
you, that is the house of Nerina di — — 
the most celebrated courtezan in Naples.'^ 
They passed on, and Cyprian remained 
alone. Stupi/ied by the last inteUigence, 
he had yet heard every syllable of it, and 
retained its full meaning. 

Montcrio, in the house of lewdness and 
shame; the last object of life frustrated; 
its ^ole hope extinct :— but though the 
prospect of good was lost, the fear of evil 
yet remained; the danger of his entering 
the confines of vice could not be averted, 
that of his remaining within them still 
might; yet Cyprian hesitated to follow 
him. Eut the delicate o[loss.of his feeling 
v/as now worn off; the shock of encounter 
had diminis:.ed the danger, or, when com- 
pared with Ippolito's, all danger seemed 
to disappear. 

From the first moment he had fatally 
beheld Montorio, he had never been him- 

YOL. I. M seliV 



t4S FATAL KEVENGE ; OR,, 

self. He had patieutly and successively 
assumed the complexion which Tppolito's 
character and fortunes had given him ; his 
smiles or his sufferings were the uniform 
and necessary echoes of his master's; he 
had been the passive dependant of his 
attachment^ whose happiness external cir- 
cumstances might controul; whose fidelity, 
rione could, ever. By pursuing him to 
the verge of ruin, he seemed to be only 
pursuing the course appointed to him ; 
in plunging with him, from its final point, 
he appeared only to be fulfilling the se- 
vere, but absolute task assigned him. 

These refiectionsrushed through his mind 
in a moment, and almost unconsciously, 
he found himself in an apartment of the 
house. To his inquiries for Montorio, no 
attention was paid; every one was busied 
in something that appeared remote from- 
the purpose which had brought him there. 
Sick, faint, and terrified, he wandered 
from to room to room, 5till callingy stilb 

inquiring ; 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 243 

iiiquiring; the house was loud, festive, 
and tumultuous. - His heart was oppressed, 
his senses achedi his limbs tottered. Half 
insensible, but still exclaiming, he rushed 
against a door, which opening discovered 
Montorio surrounded by some of the most 
licentious of the young nobility, revelling, 
shouting, drunk with licentiousness, and 
dissolved in wine. Among such a group, 
Cyprian, (whom some of them had seen 
at the Montorio palace) was beheld with 
delight, as an object of mockery and per- 
secution. They surrounded, they over- 
whelmed, him with derisive congratulati^ 
ons; they contended for the distinctions 
of doing the honours of the revel to him. 

With a strength of mind and frame, which 
we sometimes owe to the partial absence 
of reason, Cyprian brake from them, and 
staggeringto the seat where Ippolitoredin- 
ed, clung to him, exclainjing, save me, save 
me; save your own soul alive — take me from 
thi^:^ house of sin, or I die at your feet." 
M 2 Ippolito, 



244 FATAL revenge; or, 

Ippolito, starting as if from a trance^ 
protected Cyprian with his arm, and 
repelh'ng his persecutors with a fierce- 
ness which awed even the rage of drunk- 
enness, rushed from the house bear- 
ing his breathless preserver with him. 
They were pursued by the unheeded roar 
of dissolute malignity, but in a short time 
it was unheard, and they drank without 
interruption, the dewy freshness of the 
breeze of night ; they saw the chaste and 
silent brightness of the stars; they caught 
that deep and stilly humming, so pleasant 
to the ear, that loves to listen by night. 

They reached the Montorio palace in 
silence, and Cyprian with joy perceived 
Ippolito preparing to enter it. — They had 
now reached the portico, when the clock 
in the great hall was heard to strike 
" twelve." Ippolito started and paused, 
and by the lamps of the portico, Cyprian 
f^^w his eye roll fearfully. — He turned — 
*' Whither, oh whither do you go } -Have 

I sought 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIG. 245 

I sought, have I saved you for this?'' 
cried Cyprian^ clinging to him^ with re- 
newed and impatient anguish. — " Off, 
release me, I may not be held ; longer 
than midnight I must not delay; there 
is no danger ; whither I go, human good 
and evil cannot come; virtue and vice are 
negative things: at this houif, I am no 
more a mortal agent ; — release me ; my 
hour is come, I may not be delayed/* 
** These are words of madness," said Cy- 
prian, struggling, though hopelessly, to 
hold him; " whither have I not followed? 
and wherefore must I be repelled ? Fear, 
nor danger, nor sin have deterred me! 
Oh let me not be left behind ! What can I 
witness worse than I shall fear 1 What can I 
suffer so terrible as your danger?'' — He 
pleaded in vain. Ippolito was gone with 
a speed which the iktigues of the iiight 
had rendered marvclKous, and Cypiian 
entered the palace with a fieshn.ss of 
anguish which its suiTeriiigs had not ex- 
hausted. CiiAP. 



^46 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 



CHAP. XII. 






lAjter fro^ Annibal di Moniorio. 

Turn demum horrisono stridcntes cardine sacrae 
Panduntur portge. Cernis^ cuatodia quails 
Vestibulo sedcat. 

Virgil, lib. vi. 

Then of itself, unfolds th' eternal door : 
With dreadful sounds the brazen hinges roar. 
You see before the gate^ what stalking ghost 
Commands the guard, what Gentries keep the post. 

Dryden. 

Whatever be the termination oX theise 
researches^, I ah'eady lament the efFeets or 
their progress, nor can I review the tif-'^ 
cumstances 1 am about to relate, wittforit' 

many 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 247 

many reproaches on my timidity and 
more on my obduracy. The feelings 
of doubt and uncertainty which had been 
suggested by my late visit to the apart- 
ments I communicated to Michelo, who, 
eager to adopt any thing that promised a 
Temission of the task imposed on him, 
avowed it his belief, that the tenant of 
that tower had signified his displeasure 
of our intrusion by the signs we had wit- 
nessed, of which he declared our further 
misconstruction might expose us to dan-^ 
gers he dared not to name. I took coun- 
sel of his fear, unhappily for both, and 
believing, or compelling myself to be- 
lieve, that one avenue was rendered im- 
passable by a strength it would be impiety 
to resist, I resolved to repair at midnight 
to the chapel, and visit the tomb of 
Count Orazio, where the appearances, I 
determined to examine, were more fre- 
qfient and obvious, and where therefore, 
some suspicion of their being produced, 

by 



MS FATAL revenge; OK;, 

% an agent such as myself, qualified the 
fear which in the tower I had found in- 
supportable without such relief Michelo, 
who had become as, w^eary of deprecating, 
as I of importuning, made no resistance, 
and when (to compensate to myself for 
the timidity that had mingled in my de-' 
sign of omitting the tower) I determined 
to visit the tomb on that night, he pro- 
mised to attend me. 

He was to procure the keys, for he de- 
clined with so much terror the subterra- 
nean passages by which we had once 
resorted there, that I declined the pro- 
posal. Our few preparations were soon 
adjusted — long cloaks — a lamp carried in 
a lanthorn — and I determined to bring 
my sword. These arrangements v/ere 
made with the whispering caution of 
fear, and we separated. During the re- 
ijiainder of the day, I felt myself involun- 
tarily shunning the eye of Michelo, from 
a lurking apprehension that every glance 

we 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 249 

we exchano;ed was observed and inter- 
rupted. 

The night at length arrived; our dull 
and regular household dispersed; I retired 
to T\y apartment; my thoughts were 
occupied by the purpose of the nighty 
and I endeavoured to banish from my 
recollection the circumstances that had 
attended my last visit to the chapel. 
They rose before me in strong shape and 
clearness; 1 saw them on every side, as 
I stalked acre :S my chamber. I felt them, 
as I endeavoured to heave them off my 
breast^ pressing on it, a thick and impal- 
pable weight. With them came many a 
disastrous presage of uncertain evil. The 
whole ghastly troop seemed to be array- 
ing for the encounter at niidnigiit, in the 
tomb. My tenors increased, and though 
I felt that Michelo's arrival was but the 
signal for those terrors to commence, I 
yet longed for his approach, for the pre- 
sence of a human being. — This struggle 
M 5 of 



S50 FATAL revenge; or, 

of involuntary meditation was interrupt- 
ed by a noise at the door ; it was Miche-; 
lo. — '' Hush, Signor, it is T; are you pre^ 
pared ?" — " I am. '' — " Then come, Signor,* 
but speak ^nd tread softly/' — '' Why this 
caution, have not the family retired?'* 
" All, Signor, but the pages who are now 
assembling to watch in my lord's chamber. 
But then, Signor," — '' What then, why 
this hesitation V — '' There is one in this 
house," pushing his pale face close to me, 
and whispering, " one who never sleeps, 
or if he does, can do all the actions of 
of a living man; yea, and more, wTiile 
he would seem to sleep.'' — '^ Absui'd, 
Michelo, banish these dreams bf featY^' 
'' Nay, KSignor — but I am silent,— tread 
softly, however, Signor." 

We proceeded through the gallery wit% 
cautious steps ; we had now reached the 
stairs, when a distant sound was heard; 
"Hark," said I. Michelo turned round, and 
started on observing we were near the a, 

partment 



THE FAMILY QP MONTORIO. 251' 

partment of Father Schemoli. He commu- 
nicated this in a whisper. "Proceed,"' said 
L< ** L isaw the confessor retire to his apart- 
ment an hour ago."' — " Yes/' muttered Mi- 
chelo^** but heaven knows what apartments 
inclose him now." — W« descended the stair- 
case, muffling our lanthorn, and starting 
as the wind shook the casements, and the 
steps creaked beneath our tread. We 
reached the great hall, and stole through 
it almost, without touching the pave- 
ment. 

The deep and midnight silence, the 

dampness and dull echoes of the marble 

floor; the huge and dusky height of the 

walls and roof, over which our single 

lamp shed a dull ,unpiercing gleam, m.ade 

our passage appear like a progress through- 

a vault. Michelo applied the key to the 

great door, and I wrapped rny cloak about 

the lock to suppress the sound while he 

turned the key. Wonder, not at thisfeeble 

minujteness; I cannafc 4hinkj of myself, 

creeping 



^62 ^Atal revenge; Oi?, 

creeping along in silence and in fear, with- 
out wishing you to accompany me; for 
sufferings, whether voluntary or not, we 
always expect some compensation, eithet 
of participation, or of pity. — We issued 
into the outer court, and I felt refresh- 
ment in the air of heaven, though it blew 
damp and sultry. 

We now entered the chapel, and. ha- 
ving reached, through many ruinous ob- 
structions, the tomb of the late Count, 
we concealed our lamps, mufficd our cloaks 
about us, so as to conceal as much of the 
human form (if seen) as possible; and 
lurking behind a projecting pediment of 
the tomb, awaited the event in a state of 
feeling difficult to describe.- — There was 
nothing to relax its intense and severe 
controul. There was no external sound- 
no light, no motion. It was one of those 
nights, in which you icel, from time to 
time, a hot blast hissing paist yoii, that 
sinks again into silence. Anight, in 

which 



THE FAMILY OP MONTORIO. ^53 

which the dark and heavy clouds seem to 
be working with inward tumults; in which^ 
from expecting a storm long, we begin 
almost to wish for its approach. 

The moon, often struggling through 
the clouds, tinged for a moment their 
sombrous and surging masses, with a 
bright and sudden light that vanished in 
a moment ; and the night-dew3 fell with 
almost perceptible damp and heaviness. 
On the dubious features of the structure^ 
tombs and monuments, windows dusky 
with foliage, and arches shapeless in 
ruin, these bursts of light and darkness 
played with such shadowy influence, 
that he must have had senses not easily 
deluded, who could be convinced he saw 
nothing more there than might be seen 
by day. 

I, however, felt that my situation re- 
quired me to collect firmness, not to dis- 
sipate it, and 1 attempted to converse with 
* Michela. 



254 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

Michelo. *' Tell me/' said I, " why, \st\\m 
the vaults of this chapel were already nu- 
merous and spacious enough to contain 
the remains of our family, why was a mo- 
nument erected for Count Orazio, for onq 
too, whose end, I have reason to believe, 
was obscure and tragical ? And why, 
above all, was it erected in this ruinous 
and deserted pile, instead of that within, 
the walls of the castle, which is still fre- 
quented by the family/* 

" There is a strange report;, Signor," 
whispered the old man, " concerning thi& 
tomb, and the reason of its being built. 
Many things had concurred to drive it 
from my memory, but your inquiry has 
recalled it. It is needless to remind you, 
Sit^nor, how much all your illustrious fa- 
mily have been attached to secret studies. 
But of all, the Count your great grand- 
father was most engaged in them. He 
devoted his entire soul to them ; nay^, 
some said so in such a tone, as if they 

wished 



THE .FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 955 

wished to be understood literally. But, 
oh ! Signor, what am I saying — rest his 
bones, they lie within a few steps of us/* 
'' Why this interruption, Michelo ?'* — " Is 
it not fearful, Signor, to speak of the 
dead, when we feel them to be so near 
us!'' The effect of this observation on my- 
self, I endeavoured to conceal, by urging 
him to proceed. '^ Well, Signor, (lower- 
ing his Toice as if to deceive the dead,) 
be that as it may, no power could drag 
him from these studies; and at length it 
was said he had invented by his art, a 
glass, that could shew him every event 
and person he wished to see. It is cer- 
tain, that after his decease, my Lord, your 
gi'and father, spent many days shut up in 
his father's closet — examining and des- 
troying his instruments and books; and 
"'tis said, strange and doleful sounds were 
heard to issue from the room while he was 
tli'us employed. But the task was an invo- 
luntary one, for I have heard the Inquisi- 
tion 



256 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

tion were beginning to consider his pro- 
ceedings as offi'nsive, and had actually 
dismissed their ministers to examine into 
them, and to search the castle. 

"Aliltle before the old Count's death, he 
is said to have discovered by his wi dom, 
that there was a spot in the circuit of the 
castle, which would be the seat of calamity 
ancj destruction to the family. He imme-. 
diately set himself to disco'^'Cr where this 
spot might be; and I ( onciude, that, if it' 
required so much skill to Tind out that it 
did exist, it required still more to discover 
where. However, your great grandfather 
was in no wise dismayed, he pursued his 
point resolutely, and at length discovered 
the fatal spot to be the very one on v/hich 
we now stand." — '' What ! the spot on 
which this tomb has been built }" — " The 
same, Signor. I have heard that the Count 
apprized his family of this circumstance, 
but the discovery slumbered unnoticed, 
till your uncle, Count Orazio, hearing of 

it. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 257 

it, and beino^, as I have mentioned, much 
versed in those studies himself, ordered a 
monuoieiit for himself to be erected on 
the spot, hoping by this means to fulfil, 
and yet to avert tlie prediction — to defeat, 
yet not appear to defy it." 

tew that connected what I had wit- 
nessed on this spot, with what I now 
heard; could blame the emotion to which 
I yielded for a moment. But, though the 
denunciation was terrible, there is a so- 
lemnity in whatever we suppose to be 
connected with our fate, that divests it of 
the hideous ghastliness attending other 
subjects of supernatural aspect, and that 
marks the bounds of awe and of horror. — 
Under a decree^ the m^ind bends in con- 
trolled and gloomy passiveness, appalled 
but not convulsed — without the reluct- 
ance and revoltings of visionary terror. 
As the attempt to relax my feelings had 
been so unsuccessful, I tuined for relief 
to silence and to meditation. — The bell 
tolled twelve.—- — Michelo 



§58 FATAL revenge; or^ 

, Michelo now^ eagerly, but still whisper- 
ing, said, " Look, Signor, look, through- 
this <:hasm in the wall you may see— nay 
Signor, lower, yet lower — you must bend,. 
Signor, — now do you see, Signor, a frag- 
ment of the castle, just above the great 
stairs?"'—-"! do see that part of the castle, 
which I believe to be adjacent to the great 
stairs/" 

\^' There, Signor, is Father Schemoli's 
apartment; that part of the tower, and 
that narrow window, in which you see a 
light burning, belong to his oratory : — ► 
now Signor, every night his lamp is to be 
seen in that window till midnight, and 
ever when the bell tolls it is said tp disap- 
pear; nor, from that hour, can he be 
found, nor can it be conjectured, whcf^ 
or how he is employed: — this only a is 
known, he is not to be found in his apartr. 
ment. But his friends, it is said, are a* 
no loss to find employment for l^m;^;^- 
Sometimes he holds a feast with . them; in 

the 



THE FAMILY OTMONTORIO. 259 

the vault — and sometimes he mixes in 
I procession with them^ thi?ough that tower, 
andsings in their unholy mass at midnight. '* 
j ""What w^ords are these, Michelo, and what 
^ is their import ? '' '' Heed not me, Signor, 
niia'k the lamp ; see, Signor, see, it grows 
i dita, and more dim, and now it is gone — 
Holy Peter — it will be with us momently/' 
The emotion with which 1 had watch- 
ed the extinction of the lamp, I endea- 
voured to resist, as the cause was utter- 
ly inadequate to excite it — "And what 
I are we to infer from this, Michelo?- 
I The Confessor may be permitted to extin- 
guish his lamp at midnight?' " Ah ! but, 
Signor, (depressing his voice to its lowest- 
tones,) 'tis from that moment, that strange 
appearances at this tomb are said to com- 
mence/' — " Of the truth of that, we shall 
then soon be enabled to judge,'" said I, 
endeavouring to derive fortitude from the 
I intelligence. The expectation which it 
suggested, scarce permitted me -to draw 

my 



260 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

my breath. I continued to gaze vacantly, 
but fixedly, for : knew not in what direc- 
tion to expect the approach of this visita- 
tion. '^ Lock, look, K^ ignor/' Michelo ex- 
claimed, " look yonder, — now, Signor, do 
you believe, now do you behold'" — Ashe 
spake, a light resembling that we had once 
before seen, a pale, dull light, appeared 
moving along a passage, which opens by 
an arch into the east wing of the chapel. 
In amaze 1 observed it issue from the 
lower end, where I knew there was neither 
door nor aperture. 

I marked its approach, for it was slow : 
it seemed to have proceeded from the 
ground, gradually arising and advancing, 
and looking dim^ tremulous, and sepul- 
chral. 

Michelo, leaning across the angle of 
the monument, grasped my arm; there 
was no sound; the very wind was still; 
I heard the beating of my heart. At this 
moment, the jnoon riding over the billowy 

clouds. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 261 

clouds, poured a broad and sudden light 
through that passage. It played uncer- 
tainly through the rifted roof^ and fell 
full on the arch communicating %vith the 
chapel. In that instant I beheld a figure 
standing beneath the arch; a dark gigan- 
tic figure; its form and attitude I could 
nat discover; the light was brief and sud- 
den, and the vision confused and imper- 
fect; but I discovered, that, as if folded 
in its vesture, it held the lis^ht we had 
seen, and which, in the moon -shine, was 
diminished to a sm.al], dull twinkle. I 
pressed Michelo's arm in token of obser- 
vation, he returned the pressure; neither 
of us spoke; — all was dark — even that 
pale light had disappeared. — " He has 
seen us," murmured Michelo. — " Hush," 
said I, '' let us await its approach in si- 
lence." — '' vSomething is near/' said the 
old man, ^' I feel the ground near me 
pressed, as if by feet."— " Kush,'* said I, 
*' all is silent, a body, cannot move with- 
2 out 



S63 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

out sound."—'*' There is something near/' 
whispet-ed he again, " for I feel the air 
driven to my face, as if some one passed 
me."—" '1 is the bat," said I, '' that whiz- 
zes past you, or the wind that waves the 
ivy; 1 have heard, or felt nothing yet." 
'' Oh no, Signor, there is a strange mo- 
tion in the air; a rank and stifling chill- 
ness, as if something that was not good, 
breathed upon us.'* 

There came indeed a blast across us, not 
like the blasts of that night, loud and fever- 
ish; but cold and noisome, like a charnel- 
stream. We shuddered as it passed ; I felt 
some effort necessary, to resist the palsied 
feeling that was stealing over me: ^^ Mi- 
chelo, let us not be baffled a second time. 
This form, whatever it be, is probably ap* 
proaching; before it oppress us with 
some strange influence, I will rush forth 
and meet it : and be they favourable or 
malignant, I will know its power and pur- 
poses.'' 

Michelo's 



THE FAMILY OF MONTOItlO. 363 

Michek>'s faint voice of dissuasion was 
Jost in the wind that sighed hollowly 
through the aisles. I clambered out from 
my lurking place, and endeavoured to feel 
my way in the direction of the light and 
of the figure; for the central aisle was 
how totally dark. I advanced a few paces, 
I felt something rush past me — not with 
the distinct and alternate step of a hu- 
man foot, but as if it glided above the 
earth, and was borne on without effort. 
I paused^ and extended my arms — they 
encountered something that felt like a 
human hand, raised, and extended, and 
as it were, pointing onwards; I now call- 
ed aloud to Michelo to turn the lanthorn, 
and to guard the door of the vault. By 
the noise that followed, I conceived he 
attempted to obey me, but at that mo- 
ment a cry of horror burst from the 
tomb ; the light disappeared, and the 
door of the vault, closed with a thun- 
dering crash. — All remained in «lence 

.' \: . and 



264 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

and darkness. — I stood petrified; I called 
on Michelo, and shuddered at the echoes 
of my own voice — I attempted to move, 
but felt as if a step beyond the spot on 
which J stood, would be into a gulph. 
At length I broke from this trance of fear; 
I felt my way to the tomb — I called on 
Michelo again ; believing him to have 
swooned. I felt all the pavement and 
pediments *vvith the hilt of my sword — ■ 
Mirhclo was not to be found; the tomb 
appeared to have opened her mouth, and 
sw llowcd him up. I applied my utmost 
strength in vain to the door of the vault, 
and though I almost expected it to burst 
open, and disclose a sight that would 
sear the eye, or unsettle the brain — I yet 
persisted to struggle with frantic force ; 
no success attended my efforts, no sound 
encoura2:ed them. Once i thou^rht I heard 
a low and feeble moaning — but it was lost 
in that confused and humming sound, 
with which the eflfort to listen intensely, 

jilled 



THE FAMILY OF MONTOBIO. S65 

filled my ear. Fear and shame, and im- 
patience distracted me; — to force the 
wretched, reluctant, old victim, to a pur- 
suit from which he recoiled; to betray 
him into the veiy grasp and circle of it; 
to leave him expiring amid horrors, of 
which even to th'mk was not safe; to do 
I this, was to me impossible. 

The being, at whose approach I had 
shuddered, I would at that moment have 
encountered and grappled with, to rescue 
his miserable prey; but there was no hope, 
and no power of assistance. I could not 
rend open the vault, and to alarm the 
castle, would be to draw on us from my 
father's resentment, consequences as ter- 
rible as any power could menace us 
with. More than an hour was spent in 
fruitless efforts and expedients; at length, 
I conceived it possible to rouse some of 
the servants who were lodged in an adja- 
cent wing of the castle, and by rewards to 
secure their silence with regard to the ob- 

voi„ T. N lect 



266 FATAL REVENGE ,* OR, 

ject for which their services were required. 

It was when I moved from the cha- 
pel to execute this purpose, that I 
felt terrors of which I had been before 
insensible. Alone, at midnight, among 
the dead and their mansions, and pro- 
bably near to some being, whose influ- 
ence and image were the more terrible, 
because they were undefined and un- 
imaginable; because they hovered, with 
a dim aspect of uncertainty, between 
the elements and agency of different 
worlds; because they could not be refer- 
red to any distinct or sensible point of 
fear, nor admitted of any preparation 
against them, such as men can always 
make against a human foe, and some- 
times against an invisible one. 

Haunted by these feelings, I yet mov- 
ed on. The night was now still and dark; 
and in the massy line of shapeless dark- 
ness, which the castle spread before me, 
I would have given half its value to have 

discovered 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 



267 



discovered one spark oriight; there was 
not one. In that deep stillness (which 
made the echo of my steps seem like the 
tread of many) the slightest sound was 
not lost. I had almost reached the castle- 
terrace, and was debating which wing ta 
approach, when the hoarse and heavy 
grating of the door of the vault reached 
my ear. — I paused —I heard it close. 
Doubting, fearing, yet with a vague ex- 
pectation of relief, I hastened back. — ■ 
A light breeze waved my hair as I passed, 
and the volumes of cloud and vapour, 
floated back from the east, like a dark 
curtain-fold, and the moon stood calm 
and bright, in a deep azure field, tinging 
the fractured and shifting masses with 
silver as they retired. I blessed it, and 
wondered how often I had beheld that 
lovely light with apathy, or with plea- 
sure, in which sympathy for the benight- 
ed whom it cheered, or for the v/anderer 
whom it succoured, had no share. 

N 2 I sought 



f6S FATAL revenge; or, 

I sought the aisle again. The moon 
poured a light as broad as day; through 
the windows. I saw the tomb of Count 
Orazio. I beheld a figure seated on it; 
I advanced in hope and fear. It was 
Michelo — he sat like a mariner^ who leans 
on a bare and single crag, after the tem- 
pest and the wreck; he w^as haggard, spent, 
and gasping. — I rushed to him, but he 
appeared not to hear my moving; his 
head was raised, and his look fixed on 
the arched passage; the moon-light pour- 
ed a ghastly and yellow paleness on his 
still features. I looked in his eyes, they 
were hollow and glazed; I touched his 
hand, it was cold and dropped from mine. 
I shuddered, and scarce thought him an 
earthly man. A moment reproached my 
fears, and I tried to address some words 
of comfort and inquiry to him, but I was 
repelled by an awe in which I scarce 
thought Michelo an agent. 
^/ Woe^ woe/' groaned the old man, with 

a voice 



THE FAIvnLY OF MONTORIO. 26 S 

a voice unlike a mortal sounds, his arms rais- 
ed and outspread, his eye wild and dilated, 
his whole form and movement rapt into a 
burst of prophetic ecstacy. I involunta- 
rily retreated from him: " Alas, how is it 
with you, IMichelo ! let me conduct you 
from this spot; never will I forgive my- 
self for having forced you to it. Haste 
away with me ; my father may rouse in 
the night, the domestics may be sum- 
moned to attend his vigils in the chapel, 
and we shall be discovered ; hasten back 
with me, Michelo." — '' Woe, woe, w^oe,*' 
said the old man again, and bowed his 
head, and fell on the pavement. 

I bore him from the chapel in my arms; 
tottering, for the weight of age and insen- 
sibility is heavy. The air seemed to revive 
him ; and I saw, by the moonlight, some- 
thing like colour, come to his dead face 
again. As I gazed on, and spoke to him, 
a shadow stronger than the weaving of the 
cypi ess-boughs, crossed the spot. I look- 
ed 



270 FATAL PJ;VENGE ; OR, 

ed up, I beheld issuing from behind the 
buttress^ against which I leaned with my 
burthen^ the dark, and shapeless form I 
had beheld, — (The moon disappeared.) — 
h passed me, and proceeded towards the 
castle. I gasped, but could not speak to 
it — I stretched out my arms, but had no 
power to pursue it — It floated onward, 
and with these eyes I beheld it enter the 
wall of the castle. It was at the solid but- 
tress angle of a tower, whose strong line 
was visible in the shade ; there was nei- 
ther door nor aperture, but there was 
neitherobstruction nor delay. The moon 
burst forth again as it retired, and Michelo 
imclosed his weak eye on its beam. He 
rose tremblingly; I supported him. We 
proceeded towards the castle ; neither of 
us spoke, but he moaned heavily, and 
closed his eye from time to time. We 
<reached the great hall, the door of which 
we had left open; all pov/er or wish of 
inquiry died w^ithin me, . 

When 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 271 

When we heard our steps on the pave- 
ment of the hall, and felt vve trod in the 
house of the living, Michelo with a falter- 
ing hand made the sign of the cross, and 
swooned again. I had much difficulty 
in brin^j^ing him to my apartment, and 
often I thought I heard sounds that passed 
me, and felt a motion in the passages 
other than what myself occasioned; but 
I was in a state of mind in which it is 
difficult to avoid the illusions of fear. 
V/hen revived and recovered, he implored 
to be led to his own apartment. His eye 
w^as yet wild, and his words were inco- 
herent. I hesitated, but yielded to his 
earnestness. — '' Lead me, Signor," said 
he, " to my turret, other hands shall bear 
me from it ; lead me to my bed, a better 
rest than it shall give me^, is near/' 

I attended him. I had forborne to impor- 
tune him, but the wild resolution, the 
mystery of his silence, wrought with my 
abated fears of his safety, to excite a soli- 
citude 



S72 FATAL revenge; OR, 

citude I could not resist. I seated him 
in his chair, I trimmed his lamp, and de- 
parting with a rekictant step, asked, 
" Michelo, what have you seen?" — " The 
secrets of the grave/' said the old man, 
without a pause, and without a whisper. 
His boldness emboldened me. '' And dare 
you relate them, Michelo?'* — '' And dare 
you listen to them, if I dare?" said the 
old man, fixing his eyes, which shone 
with strange light, on me. '' I dare — so 
help me heaven, and all the saints, as no 
weak, peifsonal concern or fear mingles in 
the spirit with which I await the deve- 
lopment of these mysteries." — " No more 
to-right, Signor," said the old man, re- 
lapsing into weakness, '• leave me to- 
night, leave me to silence, and to heaven. 
I have need of prayer and of preparation ; 
my time is brief, and my task terrible. 
But come to the turret, and knock to- 
morrow, and if I be alive, I will answer 
you." — lie fell before a crucifix, and 

prayed 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO, 273 

prayed fervently. The lamp shed its light 
on his white temples and closed eyes. I 
retired, and when I closed the door of the 
the narrow turret-room, I felt as if I had 
closed the door of a tomb. 



The preceding lines were written in 
the remainder of that disastrous night, 
which had left me too much agitated for 
sleep; I have forborne to send them that I 
mio:ht add to them an account of our- • • • 



Ippolito, I am distracted with shame 
and contrition. Michelo is indeed dying. 
The first domestic whom I saw this morn- 
ing, told me, (what I endeavoured to 
listen to, as unexpected,) that Michelo 
was ill, and that he had sent for a monk 
of St. Nicolo, in Naples, to attend him. 
*' Strange, Signor/' said the sei^ant, '' that 
N 5 ' with 



€74 FATAL revenge; or, 

with so pious a confessor as Father Sche- 
moli in the castle^, he would prefer send- 
ing to the monastery of St. Nicolo.*' 

'I endeavoured to reconcile myself to 
thisintelligence.thatthough Michelo might 
suffer by the shock he had received, it 
was unlikely those sufferings would be 
long or severe^ far less mortal^ and I de- 
termined to visit him in the evening, 
when delay would disarm suspicion, if 
any existed. But what was my conster- 
nation, when I heard the family physi- 
cian declare that his patient would not 
probably outlive the day. The vital system, 
he said, had received a shock he could 
neither discover nor remove. ''^AJichelo 
is neither dying of age, nor of disease, 
but he will not probably outlive the day." 
I have heard it whispered in the castle 
that my father, on this intelligence, de- 
sired an interview with Michelo, which 
was determinately declined. Strange con- 
descension, and Btrange refusal ! Twice 

to-day 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 275 

to-day have I endeavoured to see him^ 
but his confessor has not yet left him ; 
they have been alone for hours. Hark I 
I am summoned — he will iee me now. 
The monk has left the castle abruptly. — 
My spirits are solemnly touched. A mo- 
ment ago, they were agitated, but this 
summons, and the expectation it has 
breathed through me, has hushed them 
into a severe stillness. Amid all ray re- 
gret for this unhappy old man, whom 
I have klMed as surely as if I had thrust 
my stiletto into his heart, there survives 
an impression of solicitude, of doubt, and 
of awe, which I am anxious to feed with 
strange intelligence. The hour, the place, 
the purpose, are most solemn; it is 
night — I go to the bed of a dying man, 
to learn the secrets of the grave ! • . • . 



I am 



276 FATAL revenge; or, 

I am returned, and the impression I 
have brought with me, what shall efflice ? 
My mind^ is so completely filled, that I 
feel as if no other subject would ever 
occupy it, and I write, almost as I think, 
involuntarily. — I found Michelo in his 
narrow bed. A pale and single lamp lit 
the room, he held a crucifix in his hand, 
to which he raised his dim eye from time 
to time. There was another person in 
the room, whom, when I became accus- 
tomed to that faint light, I discovered to 
be Filippo, the nephew of Michelo. 
'' Signor Annibal,'' said the old man, 
** draw near, I have many things to say; 
but my last hours are under that dark 
controul which has held them long, and 
till a certain moment 1 can utter nothing 
of import. Signor, you see me dying ; 
this is the reward of my long and guilty 
silence. Alas I flattered myself, that si- 
lence was not participation ; but a death- 
bed convicts a 1 self-deceivers. The holy 

monk 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 277 

monk is now in possession of my last de- 
claration; prepare you, Signer, for its con- 
sequences. You have sought a discovery, 
which will anticipate your efforts. Even 
I who would have concealed it, by par- 
tial communications, and pacifying ex- 
pedients, am made an instrument of its 
disclosure. / see its approach, with the 
indifference of a man who has no more part 
in this world; but you, oh you, how shall 
I prepare you, young, noble, and impetu- 
ous, how prepare you for it ! The House 
of Montorio must fall I'* 

Indignation and amaze kept me silent a 
moment; the dying m.an before me was no 
object for the former ; but I fervently wish- 
ed those words were uttered by some other 
mou th, down which I might thrust them with 
ay sword's point. '^ Tis well for him,'' said 
I, " your intelligence came from no living 
man; but even from the dead, I will not 
believe it true." The old man kissed the 
crucifix. " So may He to whom lam hast- 
ening. 



278 FATAL revenge; ORj 

ening, receive my soul." I paused^ and 
trembled^ and signified by a motion to 
him, to proceed. " Not yet, not yet, 
Signor; my hour is not come; and till that 
arrive, I cannot be released: but many 
are the signs that tell me it is near. 

" I shall not linfi:er lono^, Sio^nor, 
tell me the hour, and tell me the mo- 
ment.'' '' But five minutes more/' said 
J, " and it will be eleven." '' Five 
minutes," repeated he, '' it seems but a 
short space to one who has seen sixty-five 
years; yet I would they were over. — 
Look still, Signor, asid count to every 
moment as it passes." I did so. The old 
man repeated the numbers as I told them. 
" And now, Signor, now," said he, " is 
the last arrived ? " " The hand is on the 
last stroke ; now it reaches it, and now— 
hark to the bell. "< — " It is eleven — Fiiippo 
leave us." Fiiippo retired. I drew nearer 
the bed. 

The old man spoke feebly, and with 
5 many 



THE FAMILY O? MONTORIO. 279 

many pauses. " I draw near the hour of 
my dissolution. — What I have known, or 
"v.'hat I have concealed, will soon be pub- 
lished. That the disclosure will probably 
affect the fortunes and honours of your 
house, I presage too well. To prepare 
you for it, Signor, shall be the task of my 
last hour. — There is a being — he is no 
living man ; his thoughts and movements 
are beyond our knowledge; yet he passes 
before your eyes^ and moves^, and speaks^ 
and looks with a show and form of life. 
This being, I dvire not name his name, 
has held meTong in his controul. I dared 
not to speak or move, but as I was bidden, 
for he held power which man might not 
resist. But I am now released, for I am 
dying. I shall soon be as he is, and 
shudder not to meet him. But while I 
yet speak with a huip.an voice, let me 
warn you of what impends over yonr 
house, Signor. He is ilie evil genius of it 
— he is the very power commissioned to 

act 



280 FATAL revenge; or, 

act and to witness its destruction/* 
" Who is this of whom you speak ?" He 
crossed his brow. " I may not name 
his name ; all that rests is to tell what he 
has told, and what he has told, shall sure- 
ly come to pass. 

" Many a night have I dimly beheld him 
— many a night have I felt his hollow whis- 
per pass into mine ears: but, last night, I 
saw him — I saw him,'' said he, shuddering, 
" face to face ! " '^'Whom? — where? delay 
this terrible intelligence no longer; what 
have you seen^, and what have you heard ?" 

" I was at the door of the vault," said 
he, faltering ; " you left me, and wan- 
dered up the aisle — I felt that unearthly 
thing approach ; you called to me to ex- 
pose the light ; I tried to do so ; but I v/as 
grasped by an influence that froze me up. 
The cold and bony hand was on me ; the 
blood in my veins thrilled and crept like 
tb^ cold motion of a worm ; the door of 
the vault was rent open; I was dashed 

down 



THE FAMILY OF MOXTORIO. 281 

down \t, as if by a whirlwind. — The door 
was closed on us, and I felt as if I was no 
more a human being. — I did not lose my 
reason; I knew J was among the dead, 
and with one I feared more than the dead; 
but I had a kind of ghastly courage. I felt 
as if the touch of that hand had made me 
like him that owned it. I was able to 
look around me. The moon-light broke 
through the rifts of the vault. I saw his 
form moving among coffins and bones ; 
and in that dim, and shuddering light, 
it appeared to mix with them : then it 
seemed to sink into the coffin of the Count 
Orazio ; and from thence there came a 

voice to me that said" . 1 listened with 

all bodily and mental ear — 

" Woe and death," murmured a voice 
from beneath us. It was not like a hu- 
man tone; it was like the moaning 
blast of midnight ; — like the deep, long, 
hollow murmur of a distant sea; but the 
sounds it bore, were distinct and clear. 

The 



S82 FATAL revenge; or, 

The old man's hair rose^ and his eyes 
glared. *' What did you hear?" said he. 
The truth was too near and terrible to be 
denied or concealed. '^ 1 heard a voice/* 
said I^ ^' that said^ ' woe and death.' " He 
smote his hands, and sunk backward. '' My 
repentance is too late : — that was the spi- 
rit's death-cry. — And l77mst die, and leave 
it untold ; and I must die, and leave it 
unexpiated." 

He fell — he gasped — he blackened. 
I knelt beside him in terrible enthu- 
siasm. " Speak, I adjure you, while 
a breath is spared — while a moment is al- 
lowed you. Speak, as you would depart 
in peace — as you would go to glory.'* 
There came only a hollow rattle from his 
throat. I bent over him, agonizing for 
an articulate sound. He muttered deep 
and inward, " It is too late — Erminia — Ora- 
zio," (he added a name I could not catch) 
'' murdered, murdered. — Their forms are 
before my eyes; their blood is on my 

soul/ 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 285 

soul.'' He shook; he was convulsed; he ex- 
pired. I called Filippo to in y assistance; 
but assistance was fruitless— Michelo is 
no more ! 



CHAP. 



284 FATAL REVENGE ; OB5, 



CHAP. XIII. 



Tempus abire tibi est— - 

Horace. 

'Tis time for thee to quit the wanton stage. 



At the Montorio palace all was con- 
fusion and riot. All the influence once 
obtained, and the concessions once exacted 
by Cyprian, were scattered and lost by 
this new sally of riot. 

Ippolito returned to his former pursuits, 
with an avidity that promised to compen- 
sate for his short abstinence from them. 
His days were days of pleasure ; his even- 
ings, 



THE ^FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 285 

ings, evenings of revelry ; but his nights, 
remained nights of mystery. Every day 
he became more enflamed, more restless, 
and more intractable. His sense of in- 
ternal anguish appeared to be more in- 
tense in proportion to his efforts to deaden 
it. And often, while he shook the dice, 
or swallowed the wine, his haggard coun- 
tenance betrayed a heart far from holding- 
alliance with a thought of joy or ease. 
The fatigues of his revels and his vigils 
combined, the fatigues of a mind thatsought 
tumult even in pleasure, and banished 
ease from its very relief, preyed rapidly 
and equally on his frame and temper. 

The high, romantic spirit, the vicissi- 
tude of tender and of lofty feeling, the 
carelessness of happy vivacity, the play 
of unlaboured mirth were gone ; and, in 
their place, intervals of gloom and of 
fury, of spirits stimulated to unjoyous 
and fierce excess, or sunk to sullen de- 
jection. His beauty only remained; for, 

whether 



286 FATAL revenge; or, 

wheHier flushed by the dark, fever-glow- 
of riot, or pale with the gloomy weari- 
ness of his nightly watchings, he was 
ever most beautiful. 

At such moments, Cyprian beheld him 
with that piteous and painful delight, with 
which we see the dim and altered face of 
a native dwelling, or the scarred, and 
dismantled branches of a tree, that has 
delighted us with its beauty, and refreshed 
us with its shade. 

On one of those nights, that Cyprian^ 
left to utter solitude, felt it only embit- 
tered by the thought of him who had 
once filled and delighted all solitude, he 
was informed that a stranger of rank de- 
manded to see him. The demand was 
unusual and alarming ; and Cyprian was 
at first about to decline complying with 
it, but his ever-wakeful solicitude sug- 
gested that the purport of this visit might 
relate to Ippolito, and he desired the 
stranger to be conducted to him. He 

entered. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 2S7 

entered. He was a Spanish oilicer, about 
the middle of liTe ; the bold and imposing 
air of his profession v/as mingled with 
the stateliness of his nation; and he sa- 
luted Cyprian with that ease which be- 
speaks a familiarity w^lth many modes of 
life. 

" Signor Cyprian, I presume/* said he. 
Cyprian bowed. *' I am not ignorant, 
Signor, of your character and attachment 
to Count Montorio; my confidence in 
your zeal has been the motive of this 
visit. I myself know, and regard him ; 
he is a young nobleman of worth and 
honour, otherwise," said he, touching his 
w'hiskers, '' a Castilian could feel no inte- 
rest for him." 

Cyprian, w^armed by Ippolito's praises, 
listened with a pleasure he had long been 
a stranger to. '' It is therefore," said the 
Spaniard, '' that I feel myself deeply 
affected by the state in which I see him 
plunged ; — but first permit me to inquire, 

whether 



288 FATAL revenge; or, 

whether his domestic habits have under- 
gone the same perversion with his social 
ones. You^ of course^ are well acquainted 
with them, and can pronounce whether 
he appears at home, restless, perturbed, 
and unequal; or whether those appear- 
ances are only the consequence of the 
excesses in which he is immersed when 
abroad/* ^' Alas, no, cavalier;'' said 
Cyprian, *' a new and dreadful revolu- 
tion has convulsed his whole frame of 
mind; it affects him at all times, and 
everywhere ; he enjoys no repose at home ; 
he is no longer Ippolito di Montorio." 
" The change is as violent as it is exten- 
sive then ;" said the Spaniard, " he plays 
for stakes at which it would be madness 
to take him up ; he plunges into frequent 
inebriety, a vice rare in your climate : 
he seeks every abode of licentiousness in 
Naples ; his whole effort seems to be, to 
extinguish his reason, and to consume 
his health. Yet all this appears to be 

the 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 289 

the result, not of a rage for pleasure, but 
of an impatience of pain ; these excesses 
appear the dreadful alternative of anguish 
that is insupportable. Such vices," said 
the liberal soldier, '•' as I have described, 
might be forgiven in a young man of san- 
guine constitution, and splendid rank, but 
never should any excess lead a nobleman 
to derogate from his dignity, and the state- 
liness of high-born demeanour, and mix 
levity with licentiousness." Cyprian had 
sufficient knowledge of mankind to dis- 
cover, that the motives to rectitude will 
always vary with the character and habits 
of the mind that forms them; though, 
therefore, he revolted from the distinc- 
tions of this w^orldly theory, he adopted 
the consequences drawn from it. 

" I, at first," said the Spaniard, '' be- 
lieved this to be only a sally of sudden 
impetuosity, the consequence of some 
casual disappointment of his views or hk 

VOL. I. o passions; 



290 FATAL revenge; or, 

passions; but recent circumstances have 
induced me to think, that a mind of such 
noble and energetic powers could be per- 
verted by no trivial cause ; and I am con- 
firmed in my suspicions by the event of 
last night/* " Suspicions of what ? What do 
you suspect?" exclaimed Cyprian, rising 
in agitation. " Suspicions," said the Spa- 
niard, in the deepest tones of his deep 
voice, '' of his being engaged in some 
bond of connexion, either hostile to his 
soul's or body's welfare, from which he 
tries to extricate himself, but tries either 
too late or too faintly. Were I less ac- 
quainted with Count Ippolito's honour, I 
should fear him to be associated in some 
dark design against the state; as it is, I 
believe he pursues some object of private 
hostility, yet often recoils : sometimes de- 
terred by the magnitude or invidiousness 
of the enterprise, and sometimes by the 
danger of the means he must employ to 

accomplish 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 291 

accomplish it." — " Impossible !" said Cy- 
prian, with the most animated action of 
enthusiasm, '' impossible, that Ippolito's 
mind could embrace an object of guilty 
or obdurate rancour; or if he did, thiit 
danger could ever deter him from its 
pursuit/' 

'' I was about to inform you,'' said the 
Spaniaid, '' of the circumstances that led 
me to that conclusion; they were his own 
words, sometimes dropt unguardedly, and 
sometimes extorted by a sudden pang; 
but they at best, are but inconclusive. 1 
hasten to inform you, therefore, of the 
fact of last night, for I need not remind 
you, Signor, that no Castilian ever draws 
a rash or hasty conclusion.", 

Cyprian felt he had offended by his ab- 
ruptness, but the emiOtion that had caused 
left him also unable to apologize for it. 

" Last night," said the Spaniard, '' a 

large party of us had assembled in a casino 

o 5 near 



292 FATAL revenge; ORj 

near the Corso; there was high and general 
play^ and several strangers were mixed 
through the company, who were, several 
of them, as usual in masks. Count Ippolito 
was among the rest, in that perturbed 
and feverish frame we have lamented. He 
played for immense stakes, and stimulated 
his spirits by incessant draughts of wine. 
His vociferation, his eagerness, and his 
air and figure, which exhibited a kind of 
splendid and dissolute madness, had drawn 
all eyes on him. But they were diverted 
by the appearance of a stranger, whom I 
can no more describe, than I can define 
the impression his presence appeared to 
make on the company and on me. He 
was clothed in a long, loose, dark cloak, 
that completely concealed him. He wore 
a mask, over which the dark plumage de- 
pending from his hat, hung so as almost to 
hide it. He moved along with a slow 
stride, appearing to know no one, and to 

be 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 293 

be known by none. Kis presence, though 
it did not suspend amusement, appeared 
to suspend all the spirit of it. The loud 
and eager voices of the gamblers were 
gradually softened almost into whispers; 
the loiterers deserted the places he drew 
near, and one old knight of Malta told me, 
he felt the air breathe a strange chiihiesSj 
as this person past him. 

'' I should not have i^iven credit to such 
effects attending the presence of a single, 
silent, solitary man, had I not felt myself, 
a strange sensation w^hich I cannot de- 
scribe, and do not w^ish to recal; a sensa- 
tion, such as I never ft\i in the battle or 
in the breach. This person, after many 
movements, at length placed himself at the 
table at which Count Ippolito was playing, 
and stood, in a fixed attitude, directly 
opposite to him. I was near them — a su- 
perficial observer w^ould have imagined, 
from the Count's manner, that he was in- 
sensible 



294 FATAL revenge; or, 

sensible of his presence, but from the in- 
creased loudness, eagerness, and careless 
desperation of his manner, I at once drew 
a contrary conclusion. The eyes of all 
were fix;ed on that table. The stranger, 
after standing some time in silence and 
motionless, began at length to make some 
strange and unintelligible gestures, which 
were evidently directed at the Count. The 
only notice the latter took of them, was 
hastily to call for and swallow more wine, 
and to double his stake. The stranger 
then slowly raising his arm, and extending 
it from his cloak, pointed it full at the 
Count, it was naked, bony, and gigantic; 
some said it was spotted with blood ; I 
saw none. The Count, bending over the 
table, furiously bid his antagonist, who 
had paused aghast, to attend to his play. 
They pursued it. The stranger spoke not; 
but drawing out a watch, held it opposite 
the candle which stood by the Count — 

the 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 295 

the light fell on it — the hand pointed to 
twelve. x-Iany, who stood on the other 
side, said that the reverse was inscribed 
with strange figures — I could not have 
seen them, if it had. ISIontorio ea^erlv 
pushed away the light. The stranger re- 
treated, but all eyes followed him. Ke 
stood still opposite to the Count — he ap- 
peared to feel in his garment for some- 
thing : a suspicion that he was an assassin, 
now arose in the casino, and there was a 
slight murmur heard. But it was quickly 
hushed by amaze. The stranger, drawing 
for(h a dagger, marked with many a stain 
of blood, held it up, and waved it with a 
slow, but menacing motion at Montorio. 
At that spectacle his fierceness forsook 
him ; he gazed a moment, then exclaim- 
ing, in a tone between a shriek and a 
laugh, ' Hell has triumphed,' rushed 
from the table. The stranger, concealing 
his dagger, slowly retired from the i:«om. 



^9G FATAL revenge; or, 

at every step turning and beckoning to 
Montorio, who followed him with falter- 
ing stepS;, with straining eyes^ and with a 
shivering frame. 

Such i& the fact, witnessed by several of 
rank last night, in a crowded casino. They, 
who v/itnessed it, did not chuse to follow; 
and when inquiry v/as made of the attend- 
ants, they acknowledged they had seen 
them pass — but had immediately lost sight 
of them." 

Gyprian listened in sore and fearful per- 
plexity. '' After consulting with some of 
Count Montorio's friends, we agreed that 
the circumstai ces we had witnessed, could 
only be ascribed toone of the causes I hint- 
ed at. We therefore determined to inquire 
whether the same change had been ob- 
serv^^d by his family, and if it were, to re- 
commend the expediency of some steps to 
be taken, to discover and remove the cause 
of it. Your attachment, and the benign- 
ant influence you are said to exercise on 

the 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 597 

the Count's habits and dispositions, pointed 
you out as the most proper object for this 
disclosure. With you, therefore, I leave 
it — and leave it also with you, in your dis- 
cretion, to decide whether an application 
to his family, or to spiritual advice or autho- 
rty,be most expedient on this emergency/* 
The acknowledgments Cyprian w^as pre- 
paring to make for this communication, 
were'interrupted by loud clamours from thi 
portico. '' It is the Count returning from 
the Corso," said the Spaniard, " with some 
of his noisy associates. I w^as engaged to 
sup with them here, and took advantage 
of the invitation to introduce myself and 
information to you." " Stay then, I con- 
jure you/' said Cyprian, " stay with him 
this night, he is so accustomed at this 
hour to be abroad, that his return filli 
me with strange presages; perhaps this 
night he means to break that fearful bond 
that binds him. Oh, stay with him then, 
o 5 and 



298 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

and let him not lose himself in the mad- 
ness of the revel. You are a man of 
steady mind and arm — a man, such as I 
would lay h.old of in my hour of peril, 
and bid abide with me. I will be in 
the adjacent room, and, oh ! should any 
thing- only remember me.'* 

The revellers were now ascending the 
stairs, the Spaniard retired to join them; 
and Cyprian hastened to a room adjacent 
to that where they assembled, where he 
remained struggling with hope and fear. 

But he was soon agitated by feelings 
less remote : — the conversations of the 
banqueters soon reached his ear, and he 
listened with horror, which while it moved 
him to depart, rivetted him to the spot, 
to the impurity, the wickedness, and the 
wildness, that was poured out by those 
sons of mirth and ease. Gaiety, of which 
the happiest feature is fantastic lightness, 
appeared to be industriously excluded by 

the 



THE FAMILY OF MONTOEIO. 299 

the accumulation of every image, whose 
fulsomeness could disgust, whose depra- 
vity could offend, or whose profaneness, 
terrify. Often he wished for the wand of 
the enchanter, or the " wings of the morn- 
ing," to bear Ippolito from pollution, in 
which his partial hope refused to believe 
him willingly immersed. 

But Ippolito s voice was loudest in pro- 
voking, and circulating the frenzy of arti- 
ficial joy; and Cyprian began to feel 
little consolation in the thought he had 
remitted his midnight vibit ; when, in one 
of those dead and sudden pauses, fictitious 
mirth is often compelled to make, he heard 
Montorio say, *' If a stranger wxre per-^ 
mitted to view this joyous band, what 
would he conceive of us?" " Explain 
yourself?" said one of the cavaliers. — • 
*^ Would he imagine there were among 
us beings who dared not encounter this 
hour alone, who rushed to this meeting, 

not 



\ 



300 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

not for delight, but for shelter ?" Of those 
to whom this question was addressed, 
many laughed, and all answered in the 
negative : " Would such a one imagine," 
continued Montorio, with increased em- 
phasis " there were those among us, who 
were assembled here to shun a hand which 
follows, and fixes its grasp on them ; — to 
fly an influence, that even here, extin- 
guishes the lights, and poisons the wines, 
and makes the flushed faces around me 
seem as if they were seen through a gleam 
of sulphur-blue?'' *' No, no, no!*' was 

again vociferated by the company. 

'^ Would he imagine, that of these rioters, 
yet a few moments, and every voice will 
be hushed, and every cheek pale?" The 
negative was again repeated, but it was 
repeated by fewer voices, and in a fainter 

tone. ^* Then," said Montorio, " he 

would judge falsely." — A pause followed 
this strange remark. — '^ What do these 

questions 



THE FAMILY OP MONTORIO. 301 

questions mean?" murmured the cavaliers. 
" You grow pale. Count Montorio?" said 
the Spaniard. " Do I? and wherefore do 
I?** said Ippolito, in quick and broken 
toneSj " my hour is not yet come, let us 
be merry till the bell tolls, why do ye 
sit round me like statues, all silent and 
aghast ? — Let me feel the grasp of your 
hands, and hear the sound of your voices. 
Laugh, laugh again : I implore you to 
laugh : I would laugh myself — but when 
I try, a raven seems to croak from my 
throat." He snatched up a guitar, and 
burst into extempore stanzas, which as he 
sung, he adapted, to a wild and varied 
melody : 

I. 

Fill, fill the bowl, the ills of life 
I'll value not a feather, 

No cloud shall cross my soul to-night, 
Or shade its sunny weather. 

IVe 



302 FATAL revenge; ORj 

I've sorrowed till my heart was sore, 
And groan'd — but hence with prosing; 

My last care dies upon this draught, 
My last sigh's in this closing. 

III. 

ril revel with a bitter joy, 
And mock at bafllcd sorrow; 

Nor ivill I wreck how many a pang^ 
Must waken with the morrow. 

IV. 

*Tis a sweet flower, the late, late rose 
That decks the sallow autumn, 

And those the dearest beams of joy 
That burst where least we sought'cm. 

He threw down the guitar. " I am all 
discord — I have neither tone of mind nor 
of voice — But I must have music. Go, some 
of you, and call Cyprian. — Let him bring 
his harp, and hasten to us." 

Cyprian 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 303 

Cyprian, who heard every word, re- 
treated in horror at these, and was hast- 
ening from the contiguous room ; but 
the servants who had seen him going 
there, when the cavaliers entered in that 
hasty obedience which their master's way- 
ward moods had lately taught them, threw 
open the door, and disclosed him. Ippo- 
lito clamorously called him forward ; and 
Cyprian, whose compliance with that call, 
w^as mechanical and unconscious, advanc- 
ed, though abashed and terrified. Of 
the cavaliers, many were intoxicated, and 
all had resumed the obstreperous gaiety 
which Montorio's questions had suspended. 
Some were calling for play, and some 
for more wine; but Ippolito, with lavish 
and boisterous praises of Cyprian's skill, 
called for a harp, and insisted on his 
gratifying the company with his perform- 
ance. Cyprian, silently but earnestly, 
pleaded with his eyes for indulgence; but 

the 



304 FATAL revenge; ORi 

the demand grew more vehement, the 
harp was brought, and he sat down with 
sad and sore reluctance to an employment 
remote from its congenial scenery and 
spirits. He touched it with a trembling 
hand, its broken tones seemed, like him 
to mourn their altered destination. The 
times, when he had hoped the exertion 
of his talent would have cherished sensi- 
bility, and delighted virtue; when the 
grateful silence of praise struck more 
deeply on his delicate sense, than the 
boisterous delight, which rather terrified 
than encouraged him; when he hoped, 
the alternate sway of pleasures that refined, 
and of influence that rectified Montorio's 
mind, would have divided his life between 
the exercises and enjoyments of virtue; 
instead of lulling into vacancy, the inter- 
vals of Bacchanalian frenzy, with a despis- 
ed and prostituted talent; — those times 
and hopesj struck on his mind^ and tears 

fell 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 305 

fell fast on his hands, as he hurried over 
the strings. 

But the emotion that shook him, added 
to the expression, what it denied to the 
execution, his eye was raised to Monto- 
rio, and the inspiration came on. He ap- 
peared to him, amongst that rout, like a 
frail and wandering spirit, seduced by the 
apostate host, and mingling in sad asso- 
ciation; his brightness dimmed, but not 
lost, his nature '' cast down, but not de- 
stroyed/' The enthusiasm of genius was 
exalted by the intenseness of feeling, and 
he poured forth tones, that might have 
w^on such a spirit back to its original sphere 
and glory. All were suspended in rapture; 
the feast was forgotten ; they hung all 
ear and eye on the minstrel. The clock 
struck twelve unheard. At that moment, a 
loud exclamation burst from Ippolito, who 
started from his seat, and stood bending 
from it, with arms extended towards the 

door. 



§06 FATAL EI^VENGE ; OK/ 

door. Every eye followed the direction 
of his. The servants who were collected 
round the door, hastily retreated; while 
emerging from it, was seen the figure 
which many of them had seen the preced- 
ing evening at the casino. 

Its appearance was x\\q: same as the 
Spaniard had described; it was dark, 
shapeless, and gigantic ; its face was con- 
cealed in a mask, and its head oversha- 
dowed by plumage. The cavaliers stared 
and murmured; Cyprian pressed close to 
Ippoiito, and the figure stalked slowly 
into the midst of the hall. An utter 
silence succeeded; the very rustling of . 
the cloaks of the guests, as they laid down 
their untasted wine, and turned to gaze 
on the stranger, had now ceased; and the 
sound of their shortened respiration, al- 
most cam.e to the ears; when the stran- 
ger turning from Ippoiito, opposite 
whom he had planted himself, addressed 

the 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 307 

the company — " I am here an unbidden 
guest; docs no one receive the stranger? 
Then I must welcome myself." — He seated 
himself near the head of the table, while 
tho^*:^ next whom he placed himself, seem- 
ed doubtful whether to withdrav/ from 
him or not; — his appearance had amazed, 
but his voice had congealed the company. 
There was something so peculiar in its 
tone, so hollow, yet so emphatic, so 
distinct, yet so seemingly distant, that 
they who heard it, listened not to the 
words, but to the sound, and hung on 
its echo as on something that issued from 
an invisible direction. 

Ippolito now sunk slov;ly back into 
his chair, with a face still turned, and eyes 
still fixed on the stranger. — '^^ Pursue your 
mirth, cavaliers," said the figure again, 
in a tone that seemed to annihilate all 
mirth, " my business is alone with the 
Count Montorio." — '' You shall not have 

me. 



308 FATAL revenge; or, 

me, unless you bear me hence in a whirls 
wind. From this night no power carries 
me, willing or alive, to your haunts." 
'' You know my purpose and my power; 
delay not, resist not, retreat not/' — '* This 
is most strange,'* said Ippolito, recoiling 
in his chair, and grasping the arm of the 
Spaniard, and muttering in hollow and 
hurried tones while his eyes wandered 
eagerly over the stranger; " this is most 
strange — ye see how he sits there, in 
strong and visible shape, amongst us ; 
every eye can behold, and every ear can , 
hear him. This is most strange; — the 
forms that float before us, in our sleep- 
ing or waking dreams, or those more 
substantial ones that mingle in scenes of 
horror, in the solitude of midnight, in 
the vaults of the dead, in the chambers 
of sorcery; these can be banished as they 
are raised, by local influence, they can 
be dispersed by light, by human presence, 

nay 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 309 

nay by the effort of a recollected mind. 
But when they pursue us to the very hold 
and circle of our shelter, when they sit 
before us, amid our mirth and wine, 
in the blaze of lights, and the loud and 
comforting tone of human voices; when 
they do this, and will not be repelled, 
what shall we think?" — '*■ Ippolito di 
Montorio," said the stranger, "delay not, 
resist not, retreat not ; must I speak the 
words of power, must I produce the seal 
of your bond?'* — *^' Summon your instru- 
ments and your powei^s/' raved Monto- 
rio, with a shrieking laugh ; " let them 
bear me off in their visible grasp; shake 
this house to its foundations, and amid 
the ruin, bury me, or bear me off; if ye 
will have me, I shall be no easy prey." 
The stranger rose, Cyprian shrieked, the 
cavaliers rose, murmuring and preparing 
to draw their swords — the stranger waved 
his arm; '' Children of earth," said he, 

2 in 



310 FATAL revenge; or, 

in a voice of thunder, ''avaunt! For you 
there is neither task nor summons here; 
Ippolito di Montorio, I call on you; the 
bell has tolled; the hour is past. Ippolito 
di Montorio come with me." 

Ippolito remained silent and unmoved* 
The stranger, as before, produced a watch^, 
it was fifteen minutes past twelve. " Know- 
est thou this hour/' said he, ^' knowest 
thou the deed which must be done at this 
hour? Ippolito di Montorio, come with 
me." Ippolito remained silent and un- 
moved. The stranger again produced the 
terrible dagger; the stains were numerous 
and livid ; be waved it again before Mon- 
torio, whose eye seemed to lose all intel- 
ligence as he gazed on it. " By this dread- 
ful instrument I adjure thee; by his blood 
which has rusted the blade I adjure thee; 
T adjure thee by those w^ho saw it shed, 
whom thou mayest not deceive and, canst 
not escape. Ippolito di Montorio^ come 
'5 with 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 311 

with me." — '' Liar — liar accursed/' thun- 
dered IppolitO;, '' he lives, his blood is in 
his veins — no dagger has ever drained 
them. Why stand ye all round me in this 
dead distraction? Seize him^ secure him; 
another moment, and his witcheries will 
chain you to your seats; or waft ye miles 
away ; seize that dagger — I have disco- 
veries to make." While he spoke, he and 
the company had surrounded the stranger ; 
swords were now drawn, and arms ex- 
tended to seize him — all was confusion 
and tumult; Cyprian, who had rushed 
forward, heard an eager contention of 
voices. — ''Seize him!" — '' Where is he ?*' 
''Here,"—'' There."—" Gone !" 

The company gazed on each other with 
vacant and fruitless amaze. There were 
only two doors to the apartment; through 
neither of which had he been observed to 
pass. There was but a momentary pause, 
for Montorio exclaiming — " He that is not 

bereft 



312 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

bereft of reason, follow me," rushed from 
the palace. The company, partly in that 
perplexity which takes its omen from the 
first voice it hears, and partly in that 
solicitude to which any new object is a 
relief, accompanied him, and were at- 
tended by the servants, who seemed to 
have an ominous dread of remaining in 
the hall; and of the witnesses of this 
strange transaction, Cyprian alone remain- 
ed in the deserted apartment. 

When the pursuers reached the street, 
they perceived the necessity of adopting 
different directions. Among them w^as 
a nobleman, who had been intimate with 
the father and uncle of Ippolito ; but 
whom his riper years had not yet taught 
to retire from the revels of youth. From 
the first appearance of the stranger in the 
hall, he had appeared uncommonly agi- 
tated. His attention to the figure, its voice, 
and its words, had been marked and ear- 
nest. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 313 

nest, and on the proposal to pursue diffe- 
rent directions, he chose one that appear- 
ed most remote from the discovery of the 
object, and insisted on pursuing it alone. 
These circumstances were however but 
Jittle attended to, in the mingled lumult 
of intoxication and terror ; and the no- 
bleman was suffered to pursue his way- 
alone. 

Two others, who had tried theirs with- 
out success, w^ere returning to the ren- 
dezvous, when they heard behind the pro- 
jecting tower of a church, through whose 
portico they were passing, voices which 
appeared to whisper, and sounds that 
resembled a struggle. They halted in 
that hesitation, in which the senses wish 
to assure themselves of their objects, and 
they then heard distinctly, in the terrible 
voice whose tones yet dwelt on their ears, 
'^ Release me, you know not w^ho I am/' 
''^ Then by these blessed walls," said the 
nobleman who had gone alone, *' I will 

^'«i.. I. p know. 



314 FATAL revenge; oil, 

know, "before I release you. Contend 
not with me, but tell me what you are, 
your life is in my power, if you are in- 
deed a living man." A pause succeeded, 
which was followed by a loud and fearful 
cry, from the lips of the last speaker. The 
listeners now rushed, and found the no- 
bleman, alone, and extended on the pave- 
ment in a swoon. They heard not the 
steps, nor saw even the shadow, of him 
they believed had been with him; but 
had they, their companion would have 
occupied their attention more powerfully, 
as they believed him to be dying. 

The others who were dispersed in neigh- 
bouring directions, were collected by the 
noise, and assisted to support the Duke 

di 1. to the palace. Each expected 

abundant information on the subject of 
their pursuit, on his^ recovery, from the 
report of those who had been in the por- 
tico ; but that recovery appeared long 
doubtful ; medical assistance was procured, 

and 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 3l5 

and the patient slowly regained the power 
of speech and motion. But when he did, 
it was only to aggravate the suspense of 
the listeners. From time to time, he mur- 
mured, '' I have seen him, it is he" — and 
the weakness into which he relapsed, 
forbid further inquiiy. Another object 
now engaged their disappointed attention. 
It w^as discovered by Cyprian's eager in- 
quiries that Ippolitohad not returned Vvith 
the rest, and of the direction he had taken, 
all seemed to be ignorant. 

The Duke was now borne, still par- 
tially insensible, to his carriage, and the 
convivial party separated, aghast, amazed, 
and unsatisfied. More inquiries, prompted 
by curiosity than solicitude, attended the 
bed of the invalid the next day. He con- 
tinued virtually insensible; to his friends* 
he made no communication, to his medi- 
cal attendant, no complaint, to his spirit- 
ual, no confession. The words, '' I have 
seen him, it is he,'' were ever on his lipr. 
p 2 He 



S16 FATAL revenge; or. 

He lingered a few days in this partial deli- 
riunij and then expired, uttering these 
woi-ds. 

The day following the feasts Ippolito 
returned, as usual, distracted and oppress- 
ed, but with unsubdued activity. He 
that day visited his companions, and so- 
lemnly intreated them to conceal the trans- 
actions of the preceding night. The re- 
quest was easily complied with, for they 
could have told little but their own fear 
and uncertainty. And Ippolito returned 
without interruption or interference to 
his vigils. — In a few days a billet arrived 
from Annibal, of which the former part 
seemed to refer to some letter recently 
received from Ippolito. 

Letter from Annibal. 

You are then as / am — your letter 
describes an agency similar to that by 
which I seem to be led ; what shall we 

think i 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 317 

think ? ]3y whom and whither are we con- 
ducted ? I fear to follow, and I fear to 
pause ; nor do I know whether these cor- 
responding operations should remove or 
suggest doubt, should confirm the sus- 
picion of deception, or of a power that 
extends every where, and blends charac- 
ters and situations the most remote in the 
completion of its purposes. Either appre- 
hension confirms my intention of pursuing 
my search and my inquiries ; they must 
eventually lead either to the detection of 
fraud, or the discovery of truth. How 
do we flatter our motives. Were mine ex- 
amined, perhaps, curiosity would be found 
the principal cause of my visionary hero- 
ism ; yet I have witnessed things that ren- 
der curiosity almost a duty. Filippo who- 
has much attached himself to me since his 
uncle's death, often attends me with a face 
of busy significance, that seems to tempt 
an inquiry; but I should only be mocked 
by the grossness of vulgar superstition ; 

he 



3 18 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

he has nothing to relate, which I need 
wish to know. What Michelo concealed 
from me^ he would not possibly commu- 
nicate to him. 



Nightj 11 o'clccL 
The castle is in confusion — some ex- 
traordinary intelligence is said to have 
arrived ; there was a messenger from 
Naples — he is gone ; no one knew his 
ermnd or his employer. But every thing 
seems in silent, eager preparation. What 
may this mean ? 

Fiiippo has just been with me. '' Have 
you heard, Signor, of the intelligence 
from Naples ?" — '' What have ^ou heard, 
Fiiippo, for I perceive you wish to dis- 
close something.'' — " I, Signor ^ nothing 
Signor, I assure yoo, nothing I can re- 
port as certain. Just now, I heard it said, 
indeed, there v/as some great visitor ex- 
pected 



TUE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. !^19 

pected from Naples, for whom, prepara- 
tions were to be made, and whose arrival 
it w^as said, surprised my lord, your fa- 
ther extremely. The cause of this visit, 
Signor," said he, glancing his shrewd, 
dark eye at me, '' none of us presume to 
guess." — '- Do you knov; wiio this visitor 
is Fillppo ?" — '' There Signor^ I scarce dare 
venture my information again; tut it is 
said," lowering his voice, though vve were 
alone, '' it is said to be the Duke di Pal- 
lerini, his Majesty's confidential favourite; 
that is, Signor, not his ostensible minister, 
but as it were, a kind of trusty agent, who 
is always employed on secret and import- 
ant services; you understand me, Signor." 
The gravity with which I endea- 
voured to listen, silenced him : sliall I 
trust this man or not? There is a shrewd 
promptitude about him, I like : will this 
visit bear any relation to the object of my 
pursuit? Beset as I am, with perplexity 
and fear, I lay hold on every thing for 

relief; 



3W FATAL revenge; or^ 

relief; and every thing deserts or deceives 



me. 



Noon. 
The Duke has indeed arrived. Have 
you heard any thing, in Naples, of the 
purpose of this visit ? If it be an object 
of weight and of secrecy, I pronounce the 
man, from the first viev7 of him, adequate 
to the trust. At first you perceive in him 
nothing but the suavity of the courtier; 
but a little observation discovers this to 
be only a veil to the other qualities of 
that character. His conversation is guard- 
edly limited to indifferent topics, of which 
the charm of his maimers conceals the 
insignificance. His very V7ords seemed 
weighed in the balance of diplomatic de- 
corum, yet you see an object ever direct- 
ing his most trivial movements; he seems 
to me a mental assassin, who lurks in the 
shade of his purpose, to spring on the 
prey. But we often drav/ conclusions, 

not 



THE FAMILY OP MONTCRIO. 321 

not from what we see, but from what we 
determine to see. His presence has diffus- 
ed something like life through this gloomy 
house. My father, my mother, appear to 
be gratified by this visit. The rest of the 
family with myself welcome it as a sus- 
pension of dreary monotony. 



Filippo has been again with me^ — there 
was a secret in his countenance, which he 
did not suffer to burthen him long. " Does 
the Signor," said he, '' recollect that there 
are certain apartments in the castle, which 
are supposed to have been unvisited for 
many years, and of which my late uncle 
had the keys ?" — " I have heard of such 
apartments.'' — "And /have heard, Sig- 
nor, that since my lord your uncle's death, 
they have never been entered, never been 
opened, never even approached." '' That,"' 
said I, almost unconsciously, " I know to 
p 5 be 



3S^ FATAL REVENGE ; OE, 

be a falsehood/* — ^' And so do I/* return^ 
ed Filippo, with quickness. " You, ".said 
J, astonished. — ^^ And if my Signor will 
please to listen/' he added^ " he will hear 
something still more strange. Our apart^ 
ments, Signor, are situated near that 
tower; mine is directly under a passage 
which is said to lead by a stair-case to 
those apartments; and often when I have 
lain and listened to the wind as it moaned 
so hollow down that passage, I have 
thought I heard other sounds mingling 
with it. Since a late period indeed, those 
noises increased, and often have I expect* 
ed to hear the feet that fell so distinctly 
in that passage, enter my room and move 
round my bed, so plain and certain was 
their sound. But the danger which my 
mention of the adventure near the old 
chapel, incurred, taught me silence and 
fear. 

Last night, however, Signor, it was my 
lord's order that we should feast the 

Duke's 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 323 

Duke's servants, and give abundance of 
wine to them; such store, Signor, was 
given out, even lachryma? Christi was not 
grudged them ; — close knaves they were, 
and shrewd. The more wine was poured 
down their throats, the more silent they 
grew, and at length they all pretended to 
sleep; some of them did so. in reality; 
and then wx saw huge stilettos peeping 
from under their cloaks. Strange, that 
one nobleman coming to visit another, 
should arm his attendants so ' " — '' And is 
thisall you had to communicate Filippo?" 
*' Pardon me, Signor, I was s^oinor to in— 
form you, we separated late, and just as 
I had got to bed, I thought I heard the 
door of the passage open — I listened — it 
was a sound 1 had never heard before; for 
t-hough steps had often trod that passage, 
they seemed to have issued from the vyall^ 
neither lock nor door had I heard ever till 
last night. It seemed to be opened slow- 
ly and cautiouiiy, and many steps then 

brubhed 



324 FATAL "revenge; or, 

brushed ov^r n\j head. I sat up in my 
bed, and looked upwards, vacantly; — but 
the ceili'sg is old and shattered, and 
through the chinks I could see light pass- 
ing, till it had gone beyond my room. 
I know not Signor, whether the wine I 
had drank, gave me courage, but I rose, 
and leaving my room softly, I went where 
a few steps lead to the door of that pas- 
sage — I ventured up them — the door was 
open, and as 1 looked down it, I saw dis- 
tinctly figures moving, and among them, 
one whose habit resembled a monk's. I 
staid till they disappeared, and then I 
heard other doors opening ; and all night 
after I was disturbed by frequent noises 
in that direction; noises I might have mis- 
taken for the wind, had I not seen what 
I did. But now, Signor, the strangest 
part of all, is, that recollecting the events 
of the night, I ventured, when the ser- 
vants were in another direction, to exa- 
mine the door this morning ; it was still 

open ; 



THE FAMILY OF MOKTORIO. 325 

open. Twice since have I gone to it; it re- 
mains open — that is, Signor, closed but 
not locked : now if my Signor had any 
curiosity to visit those apartments"— I was 
struck by the circumstance he related. 
" You informed me/' said I, concealing 
my knowledge, '^ that your uncle had the 
key of those apartments; who has obtain- 
ed them since his death?" — ^^That, Signor, 
no one knows; nay, no one ever knew^ 
but by conjecture, whether they were in 
old Michelo's possession or not. He never 
owned it; and the servants, would ask him 
for the keys of the tower, when they 
wished to torment him." 

I mused for some moments; so many 
objects, and opportunities, and agents, 
all contributing their unconscious, but 
regular operations to the same point, all 
varying in the means and direction, but 
all agreeing in the end; all acting invo- 
luntarily, yet with an uniformity that sug- 
gested 



3i^ FATAL revenge; or^ 

gested the idea of a su|)erior infiiience ; 
their agency neither obstructed by diffi- 
culty, nor deterred by fear; nor, as it 
should seem, dying with the death of 
their principal mover. Air these struck 
me with a conviction of fatality, in the 
direction they pointed out, which I could 
not resist, and to which if I did, resistance 
would be vain. I submitted therefore 
silently, with awe, but not gloom; re- 
signed, but not dejected. '*" Yes/' said 
I, with an earnestness that appeared to 
surprise my attendant; '^ yes, we will visit 
those apartments; to-night, the servants 
wearied with attendance^ and probably 
stupified with wine, v/ill sleep sound and 
deep. Come, after the Duke has been 
conducted to his apartment, come to 
mine, and we will visit those apartments." 
Filippo assented with a pleasure, which 
flashed in his dark eyes, — Ippolito, I go 
again to the tower; often disappointed by 
partial discoveries, and fantastic hinderan- 

ces^ 



THE FAMILY OP MONTORIO. S27 

ces, I go to-night with a solemnity of 
feeling and purpose^ that tell me I shall 
not visit it in vain. 

Adieu. 



He went; and, strange to relate^ was 
seen no more by the inhabitants of the 
castle. 



CHAP. 



328 FATAL revenge; ORj 



CHAP. XIV. 



But let both worlds disjoint 

'£re we will eat onr meal in fear, and'slcep 
In the affliction of those terrible dreams 
That shake us nightly. 

Macbeth. 

The cause of the visit alluded to in 
Annibal's last letter^ may be explained 
by the following one, which had preced- 
ed the arrival of the writer one day, ^nd. 
which was directed to the 

Count di Mont or to. 

'* His Majesty, the King of Naples, ever 
attentive to the interests of his subjects, 

and 



THE FAMILY OF MOXrOBlO. 329 

and psculiarly zealous of the honour of 
the hio^her orders, has received in forma- 
tion that induces him to establish an in- 
quiry into some events that are said to 
have occurred in the illustrious house of 
Montorio. With a confidence that their 
representative will completely exculpate 
himself from their imputed responsibility; 
and will view, not with resentment, but gra- 
titude, the opportunity allowed him for this 
purpose by his gracious sovereign.— The 
Duke de Pallerini, to whom his majesty 
has been pleased to commit the inquiry 
into this delicate and important subject, 
begs leave to point to the Count Mon- 
torio, another instance of the royal be- 
nignity — the Inquisition is to be private; 
without the fornalities of a court, or the 
publicity of witnesses and documents. 
The Duke de Pallerini proposes himself 
the pleasure of a visit to the Count's castle; 
from which he expects to return, with full 

proofs 



330 FATAL kevenge; or, 

proof, of the futility of the allegations he 
is appointed to examine/' 

This letter, the genuine production of 
an Italian statesman, who in the com- 
mencement of his letter, disguises the in- 
vidiousness of his office, by making the 
king the principal agent, who conceals 
the feeble and illegitimate character of the 
charge, by affecting to deprecate the of- 
fensive publicity of a court, and who pre- 
vents the possibility of preparation, by 
the conceahrient of his object, while he 
disarms the anxiety for it, by affecting to 
treat it with levity. This letter was 
brought by a courier, and presented to 
the Count; who, on reading it, conti- 
nued to muse for an hour, and then de- 
sired the Countess might be summoned. 
The Countess followed the messenger; 
the attendants quitted the apartment, the 
Cpunt locked, with his own hand, the 
door of the anti-chamber, and returning, 
pointed to the letter^ which lay on the 

table,. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO/ O^^l 

table ; and covering his face, sunk back 
on his chair. 

The Countess read^ without uttering a 
sound, or altering a feature, and then 
with a n'lovement which caution had made 
habitual, tore and consumed it. The 
Count raised his eye slowly, and fixed it 
on her; his must have been a steady as- 
pect, that could have met it unrepelled; 
but hers sought and fixed it with a fuller 
meaning than its own. 

" The storm has gathered," he mur- 
mured — " Then let it burst," replied the 
Countess, ** what have we to fear, or to 
provide?' — " What have we to fear?" re- 
peated the Count, '^ do you speak in 
despair or in defiance? What have we 
to fear ? They who are compelled to 
trust or employ human agents, have ever 
to fear. The impotency of human power 
confounds and distracts us. The single 
arm cannot execute its own purpose. From 
thoie bold and daring conceptions, that 

swell 



332 FATAL REVENGE ,' OR, 

swell the mind almost with a conscious- 
ness of its omnipotence, it must descend 
to the drudgery of means and agents ; it 
must ask the aid of wretches whom it fears 
and hates; wretches, who are ever weigh- 
ing the price of blood in one hand, against 
the price of treachery in the other. 
Commit the secret of your guilt to but 
one human being, let it be breathed but 
in one ear, ever so remote, ever so se- 
cured, ever so unassailed, and — tremble, 
as I do now." — '^ And wherefore do you 
tremble ? Have we not secured, by oaths, 
by bribes, by mutual fear and danger, 
every being either conscious or partaking 
in our deed ? Is not every mouth stopt, 
and eveiy hand tied up ? Nay, have we 
not, of some, the final, certain, terrible 
pledge of silence and safety ?" — '' Hush^ 
hush, hush;'* said the Count, waving one 
hand impatiently, while Xho, other still 
concealed his face; "ever — ever those 
sounds — whatever words I hear, they are 

mixed 



THE FAMILY OF MONTOEIO. 333 

mixed with; whatever object I see, they 
are written on, and you must goad me 
with the repetition. Can you not speak 
without adverting to it ; or, if you must, 
why advert to it so distinctly ? Can you 
not speak like one ignorant of it ; or, if 
knowing, one who knows it not so deep- 
ly ? 1 need no remembrancer — no, I 
need no remembrancer." 

'' What is this weak and sickly wayward- 
ness, that shrinks not at the deed, but at 
the name. When the prevention of evil 
was yet possible, it might have been in- 
dulged; now that it is no longer so, ex- 
chano^e it for those views of advantasie 
that prompted you to it. By absurdly 
inverting the places of desire and remorse, 
we lose both the tranquillity of innocence, 
and the enjoyments of guilt. If remorse 
may prevent guilt, let it precede it; but 
if guilt promises enjoyment, let enjoy- 
ment follow it. Ah ! no, no, Montorio^ 
this waywardness is not for us ; strange 

deeds 



334r FATAL REVENGE; 0R> 

deeds have made us familiar with strange 
language; — we must confer in the cold, 
hard terms of necessity/* " If we must 
then — rf we must talk like midnight as- 
sassins in their cave of blood — if it must 
be so — sit down by me, close and hushed; 
and let us consult from what quarter 
this danger approaches, and how its pur- 
pose and bearing may be discovered." 

" There is but one quarter from which 
danger can approach us. The woman is 
secured, secured by her guilt ; but Ascanio, 
Oh, Ascanio, that business, unfinished, 
unknown, unascertained, since we left 
Apulia, has haunted me with strange 
fears ; it has tinged my thoughts, my very 
dreams/' 

" Would that were all that haunted 
mine," said the Count, inwardly. " That 
dark story, never fully told, in the wild 
fables of the Apulian peasants, I have 
often thought there might be some trace 
of Ascanio — then the monk of the moun- 
tains 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 335 

tains — the confession — the letters of 
doubtful menace you received from the 

prior of the monastery '' '' Who is 

now/' interrupted the County, '' the prior 
of St. Nicholo, in Naples/' ''Is he.in- 
deedj indeed, Montorio ?" '' He is; but 
%vhy do you tremble?" '•' It was from 
that convent^ that a confessor came to 
old Michelo, when dying/' '' True, 
true, he did/' said the Count, smiting 
his forehead. '' Oh, what a chao&is 
here ! thought crossing thought, and 
circumstance clashing circumstance — yet 
nothing is certain, nothing direct. I have 
no motive for fear, but the consciousness 
of guilt. These circumstances might 
have happened in the common course of 
things. A maniac might have died — a 
monk might have attended his dying 
bed — the prior of a monastery might be 
removed, without danger or fear to me. 
But there is a coherence here — a consist- 
5 ency 



336 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

ency — a seeming order and form ; as if 
some still, slow, invisible hand were bu- 
sied in unravelling and displaying the 
train. Or, is it the curse of guilt to be- 
lieve every common cause and agent in 
nature fraught with its detection — to see a 
tempest in the very blaze of noon ? It is, 
it is; — the worm within me never dieth; 
and every thought and object it converts 
into its own morbid fbod," 

" Montorio, have I come here only 
to hear your complainings? If there 
be danger, the interval is short, and our 
preparation must be — Hush ! — hark ! — 
What sound is that ? Did you lock the 
antichamber door?'* " I did, I did ; 
listen again. We are undone, there is a 
listener there/' '' And will you be un- 
done ? Have you not a dagger ? Possibly 
there is but one, and he can soon be dis- 
patched." 

They had risen ; they were rushing 

to 



THE FAMILY OP MONTORIO. S5T 

to the door. " What! more blood!"* 
said Montorio, half recoiling, '*' must 
there be more blood ?" 

The Countess replied but by a look, 
and an effort to wrest the dagger from 
him; but the noise was occasioned by 
drawing back the bolts of another door, 
that which communicated with the con- 
fessor's, who opening it, suddenly entered 
the apartment. Montorio staggered to 
his chair, while his wife, with the invo- 
1 luntary movement of fear, held up the 
light to the. stranger's face, to discover 
if indeed it were the confessor. 

The monk spake in hurried and eager 
tones, but w'ithout the eagerness of dis- 
covery. '' I know ye; I know the secret 
of your fear; — I know the purpose." — 
'' Whom, and what do you know, and 
"whence this intrusion?*' said the Coun- 
tess, passing with dexterous quickness be- 
tween the Count and the confessor, to 
conceal the pale and fear-stricken visage of 

VOL. I. Q the 



333 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

the former; on whom she cast looks 
of smothered fury, and muttered, 
'' Shame! — shame!" through her shut 
teeth. 

" It is in vain," said the Count, with 
a look of anguish and horror, " it is in 
vain, he knows it all." '' I know it all,'* 
repeated the monk. " He echoes your 
words, will you prompt him yourself? — 
Or if he knows it all — have you not still 
a resource? " She pointed to his dagger ; 
then turning boldly to the monk, to con- 
ceal the movements of the Count, again 
demanded of him what he knew, and where- 
fore he was there. The monk laugh- 
ed. — The blood of Montorio and his 
wife ran cold to hear his laugh; they 
almost wished he had told his disco- 
very. 

" Lady," said he, '^ urge me not. — I 
know the deed — and the time — and the 
place — and the sign. I can repeat the 
signal of the secret. I have read the 

marl' 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 339 

mark on the brow. — Do you remember 
your miserable agent, Ascanio? Do you 
remember the monk of the mountains ? 
— the confession — secret — the letters of 
the prior — and how you trembled at their 
dark intimations?'* 

'' Who, who is this ?" said the Coun- 
tess, in terror. — " Must I go on, or is 
your soul shaken yet ? — Do you remember 
Orazio and Eiminia — the betrayed — the 
distracted — the murdered?" 

'' Hold, hold, what, oh, what are you ? ' 
" Do you remember,'* said the monk, 
in a voice that froze them, ^' do you re- 
member that night, that terrible night, 
when the thunder roared, and the earth 
was rent to appal you, in vain ? Do you 
remember the north tower — the narrow 
staircase — the evening gloom? — Do you 
remember how your victim struggled ? — 
Do you remember her dying curse — her 
dying scream ? — Six strokes your dagger 
gave — I feel them all; at the seventh his 
Q 2 blood 



3A0 FATAL retenge; -ok^ 

blood rose to the hilt. You heard him chat- 
ter — ^you saw him convulsed — you felt him 
quiver — ha ! ha ! ha ! — Go^ comfort your 
pale husband yonder^ he seems to swoon." 

Pie released her arm, which he had 
grasped with violence; she staggered 
from him, and fell senseless on the floor. 
The Count remained petrified, holding 
his half- drawn dagger. 

'^ Look to the lady," said the monk. — ■ 
^^I came not to terrify, but to save. You 
are in danger; I know its direction, its 
nature — nay its very degree. But fear 
you not; they can do nothing without 
me ; you are safe from all human power, 
and all human vengeance. I am your 
dark, invisible shield. Be bold and reck- 
less of them. Montorio, sad and fearful 
man, be bold. It is midnight now, and 
I must hence, on a far and dreary sum- 
mons. Montorio, be bold and reckless." 

He disappeared through the secret door. 
The Count raised and supported his wife 

Sb 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 341 

She recovered. She murmured, " Are 
we?" — '' Alone/' said the Count, " you 
called no assistance ? None saw us." 
'" None!" "Right, right," panted the 
Countess, '' better death than discovery ! " 

She rose, feebly leaning on Montorio, 
the energy of her mind, contending with 
bodily weakness. She could scarce stand, 
but her eye and tone were firm. 

" What fearful voice was that which 
spake to me?*' " It was no fearful voice; 
it spake of strength and courage. Aye, 
snd-do'i fe^I iitrarigc courage aad strength 
within me since it spake." '' Are you 
mad, Montorio? he knows our secret — 
pui-sue him, he is unarmed; he has not 
quitted the passage." 

*' Woman ! woman !'* scowled Mon- 
torio, '' weak and daring ; — but now you 
fainted at the name of blood, and now 
you urge me to shed it. I will not pursue 
him. Were he here, and at my very 
sword's point, I could not thrust at him. 

Zenobia 1 



34^ FATAL revenge; or, 

Zenobia ! that man is the very agent of 
our fate. From the first moment I be- 
held his dark eye, and heard his deep voice, 
I felt my mind and genius in subjection 
to his. At our first conference^, he ap- 
peared to be in possession of the bur- 
then that presses on my soul: and he 
appeared to possess it, not in the vulgar joy 
of an inquisitive spirit, but with the deep 
consciousness and compassion that thinks 
not of the crime, but of the criminal. 
He has prayed with, and for me, in fervent 
agony the live-long night, till the big 
drops, like those of death, stood on his 
pale forehead; — but never till to-night 
did he own the extent of his knowledge, 
though he must have long been in pos- 
session of it. When I talk to him, events 
the most distant — the most secret — the 
most minute, seem all perfectly known to 
him; wherever I have been, he seems 
to have been — to have seen all I have 
seen— and to have known all I know.—- 

His 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 343 

His presence — his voice seem to act 
me like a spell. Either my spirit, weary 
of suffering, sinks into that lassitude, 
which precedes dissolution ; or it bows 
to its arbiter, with conscious submission, 
and tells me to rest on him. And even 
now departing, he bid me be bold and 
fearless. I will not fear — I will rest on 
him." 

'' Montorio, you mistake the amaze- 
ment of a harassed spirit, for the con- 
fidence of a controlled one. This is the 
monk of the mountains, whom your super- 
stition would transform into the minister 
of your fate ; — he holds the confession 
secret ; which, perhaps, he only awaits 
the arrival of Pallerini to disclose to- 
morrow. And will you, w^ill you, see the 
serpent crawling within your walls, and 
whetting the sting that is to pierce you, 
without an effort to crush him?" 

'' It is impossible to reach him now," 
said Montorio. '' Impossible !" " Yes, 

when 



344 FATAL revenge; OJt, 

■when he came to reside here^ he told me, 
I must never summon him at night, for 
every night he said, he had a task, which 
might neither he deferred nor suspended.'^ 
" A pretence for an opportunity of pry- 
ing." *' No ; often in my midnight- 
visitings, have 1 sent for him; but never 
was he to be found. The castle gates are 
locked every night; but he passes every 
where without noise or obstruction ; he 
knows the secret avenues better than we 
do. I have seen him appear from walls> 
Vnere no door was ; — I have seen him in 

the passages of the the-— — tower, 

but never at night may he be found." 

'' Your account almost tempts me to your 
own c onfidence in him. But what have 
we else to grasp at, it is the involuntary 
fortitude of misery, that converts its in- 
struments of suffering, into instruments 
of relief — At least, lam content to abide 
till to-morrow, for what can be done or 
known till then?" '^ Yes, to-morrow 

much 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 345 

much will be known/' '' Did you speak, 
Zenobia?" " No, I was sheathing the 
dagger you had dropt." " I thought I 
heard a voice murmur, to-morrow; but I 
am often so deceived. Good night, Ze- 
nobia. Let the attendants return, and 
look you give orders for to-morrow's pre- 
paration with a cheerful tone/' 

The (^ountess rose to depart, but as she 
crossed, he grasped her arm ; his eyes 
were cast upward; their lids quivered; 
his teeth were strongly shut; his frame 
rose and dilated with an intense and strain- 
ing movement ; he held her strenuously, 
but spoke not. '' How is this, Montorio ? 
Speak, what do you see, or feel, Montorio? 
speak to me — jnust I call assistance? '^ 
'' Stir not, speak not,'* he hissed through 
his shut teeth. '* What, and wherefore is 
this?" '' There — there — there," he 
sighed slowly, while the influence that 
held him, seemed to relax. His eyes mov- 
Q 5 ed 



516 FATAL revenge; or, 

ed again, and the muscles resumed their 
tone and direction. 

He sunk into the chair, still holding her 
arm, and almost dragging her with him. — 
'' So, now, you must not leave me to- 
night." " Not leave you V " No; the 
feeling has been with me ; I know its 
deadly language; it tells me what shall 
befal to-night.'' '' What shall befal to- 
night !" '' Aye ; ever when it comes, 
my eyes grow dim — my ears ring — my 
flesh creeps and quivers. Then I know 
that I shall walk in my sleep that night; 
and you must abide by me, Zenobia. 
From the strange looks of those who watch 
with me, I know I talk in those nightly 
visitings ; you must abide by me, Zenobia ; 
none but the murderess must hear the 
ravings of the murderer.'' ^' Yes, I will ' 
watch with you. This is the meed of our 
daring. — But how know you it will come 
on to-night ?"' '' Whenever my mind is I 
shaken by the mention of those events, 

then 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 347 

then 1 know it will visit me. I have also 
a short, convulsive summons that betokens 
it; — you have seen me wrought by that; 
but now — prepare for the night, good 
wife; for what a night must I prepare ! ' 



"How is the night?" said the Count, 
raising his heavy eyes to his wife. *^*^ Tis 
almost twelve." — '' Then my hour is very 
near; I feel its summons coming on; 'tis 
heavier than sleep, yet 'tis not like the 
drowsiness of sleep." — " Is there no means 
of preventing or of mitigating it; can 
you not turn your thoughts in another di- 
rection ?" — "Can you!" replied Monto- 
rio, fixing his eye on her. " Is it not at 
least possible to repel sleep, and so repel 
this terrible companion r"—'*^ No, no, 
no ;" murmured he, with the heaviness 
of reluctant drowsiness, '' I have tried a 
thousand ways, a thousand times, but 

never 



348 FATAL revenge; or, 

never could I resist the lead-like weight 
of that unnatural sleep. Oh it were mock- 
ery to tell you, Zenobia, the childish, 
miserable things I have done to prevent 
these nightly visitings. I have wasted 
the day in fatigue, and the night in dis- 
soluteness; but ever when it came, though 
the sleep that seized me were as deep as 
death, I rose almost as soon as my head 
touched the pillow. I have determined 
to watch at my casements, to mark the 
moon and clouds, their changes and shapes. 
I have turned my thoughts intently to 
one point and object, and still as it stole 
from my mind, I have tried to recal it. 
I have counted the sparks in the embers, 
the figures in the tapestry to force atten- 
tion to wakefulness; but ever when mid- 
night came on, I sunk into sleep, with all 
the horrid consciousness that it was not 
slumber, nor rest, but a living hell that 
awaited me. I have made my attendants 

read 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 549 

read to me, varying their tone and subject, 
and bid them, if they saw me slumber, 
shake and rouse me up; but all in vain. 
When I have started from my dream, I 
have beheld them asleep with their books 
in their hands, and when I upbraided them 
with negligence, they fell on their knees, 
and declared, they neither could rouse 
me, nor preserve themselves from the in- 
fluence that overcame them/' — " Merciful 
heaven, and this, the moment your eyes 
are closed." — " My eyes never close," 
said Montorio, with a piteous ghastliness 
of visage; "on those nights; they con- 
tinue open during the whole of my wan- 
dering." — '' It will be a fearful sight for 
me to behold you." — '*^Aye; we must 
bear them though ; we must learn to grap- 
ple with our fate, and all its terrible cir- 
cumstance and feature. But mark me — • 
however ghastly the sight, close not your 
eyes, close them not for a moment; if 

you 



350 FATAL revenge; or^ 

you do, sleep may overcome you ; and 
the prying knaves of the chamber may 
listen or enter unobserved : no- — thoujrh 
spent and affrighted, the wife of the mur- 
derer must not sleep." — " Fear me not, I 
shall neither slumber nor fear."' — ''How- 
ever desperate my convulsions, my strug- 
gles, my sufferings, if my very hair stand 
upright, if blood gush from my nostrils, if I 
bedrenched with the sweat of fearful agony, 
yet waken me not, Zenobia; let the vision 
spend its teriiMe force; for if wakened 
in its paroxysm, reason is irrecoverably 
lost. — Alas, Zenobia, by the light I see 
your eyes begin to wander, and your 
voice sounds faint ; — rouse, rouse, you 
must not sleep, Zenobia; tell me the hour, 
and how much of it has our melancholy 
conference wasted }" — '' The time-piece 
is beside you.'' — " Aye, but I want to see 
you move, and hear the sound of your 
voice answering me ; tell me the hour, 
good wife?' — '' 'Tis but a quarter past 

twelve." 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 351 

twelve." — '' But, but a. quarter ! I thought 
we had almost dragged out one hour; when 
by some strong effort^ I have resisted its 
influence for an hour^ with what delight 
have I heard the bell toll one, and thought 
it was so much nearer morning ; that so 
much of the terrible night was elapsed. 
But even that miserable respite is denied 
to-night. I feel that deadly sleep coming 
on me fast ; speak, speak to me, Zenobia; 
let me feel your hand, or hear you move; 
no, no, no; all palsied, numb, and drow- 
sy." — '' Try to rise, and walk up and 
down your apartment ; I will support." — 
''In vain, in vain;" he murmured, '' I 
should sleep if rocking on a w^ave.*'^'' At 
least retire to bed, before this oppresses 
you; perhaps you might get some sleep." 
'' No, no ; I will remain in this chair; 
even in my slumber, I feel the horrid mo- 
tion of rising from the bed." 

The last sentence was almost inarticu- 
late; he shivered— he moaned — he fell 

backward : 



Si59 FATAL REVENGE ,* OH, 

backward ; his eyes closed for a moment^ 
but opening again^ remained' staring, mo- 
tionless^ and dead; — his hands moved 
with a faint tremour, and his heavy respi- 
ration sounded like a groan. The Count- 
esS;, with involuntary fear, caught a cross 
that hung on her bosom^ but dropt it 
again, while a terrible expression crossed 
her countenance ; *' What have I to do 
with thee," she half-murmured, and half- 
thought; she then seized a book that lay 
on the table, and began to read v/ith fixed 
and vehement attention, studiously . con- 
fining her eye to the page. She was dis- 
turbed by the louder groans of Montorio; 
she read aloud in the endeavour to drown 
them, but they became stronger and more 
terrible; she could no longer hear what 
she read, the book fell from her hand. 

The groans were followed by some inar- 
ticulate sounds, and he then began to 
speak, in tones so distinct, yet so unlike 

human 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 353 

human accents, that she thought the groans 
had not ceased. 

*' Zenobia, Zenobia/' he said in a quick 
low voice, " where are you gone ? What 
is this melancholy light by which I follow 
you ? — ^the pale glow of embers ! — Nay 
then, she must be near. — Let me draw the 
curtains of this bed; — Is this you, Zenobia? 
Ha ! — lightning rive me ! — Erminia ! — let 
rne, let me fly ; no, no, no : — her eye 
has fixed, her touch has frozen me. Must 
I stand here for ever; rooted, congealed, 
gazing, face to face; touch to touch? I 
cannot move my foot, or withdraw my 
eye, or think myself away. — Ha, her cold 
shroud encloses me like a snow-cloud ; 
her dead arms creep round ; the icy dart 
of her eye numbs my brain. — Help, help 
me, Zenobia ! I sink, I sink wdth her I 
Oceans of mist and snow ! storms of icy 
sleet and shower ! cold, cold ; oh, cold.'* 

His teeth chattered with frightful loud- 
ness. 



Ov34 FATAL revenge; or, 

ness, and the seat shook with his shaking 
limbs. '^ Whither, whither now !" he 
muttered; "aye, I know your haunt; 
I know, whence this dim unnatural 
light steals from ! ye shall not drag me 
to the tower; it is in the castle, I know, 
and not in this misty bay. I will lurk 
in this gulph, and shun it. Ha ! 'tis 
here ; I move without feet, and without 
change of place; this is witchery! I will 
pray and cross me, and then no evil 
thing shall control. — Father Schemoli, 
cross me on the left breast, there— near 
the heart, for they say it is troubled 
and impure ; I would do it myself, but 
my hands are bloody! — Ha! ha! ha! 
What hand was that which wrote on my 
breast ? I bid it sign the cross — Orazio ! 
Erminia ! — Verdoni! in letters of burning 
sulphur. — Help, here !— Water ! — steel ! 
wash it ! — erase it ! — tear it out ! — it eats 
into my flesh ! — it drinks up my blood ! 

Now 



THB FAMILY OF MONOTRIO. 355 

Now they surround me ! — save me, save 
me ! — I stand their burning food ! — Oh, 
their hot pincer-fangs! they hiss in my 
flesh! — Oh, rend out my heart, and let 
me have ease ! — see, they divide it a- 
mong them ! —it spreads, it burns, up- 
ward, upward ! my hairs blaze up, my 
eye-balls melt ! — I burn blue, and green, 
and red ! — I am a hell I — Fire, fire, fire!'' 
He roared with strong and horrid force, 
and started from his chair, and spread his 
arms, with the action of one who strug- 
gled with flames. A scream rose to 
the Countess's throat, she suppressed it 
with convulsive firmness. A dead silence 
followed this burst, and in its pause, the 
Countess heard the deep and heavy breath- 
ing of the sleeping pages in the anti-cham- 
ber. She felt there was something ex- 
traordinary in their torpor, but the secu- 
rity w^hich it promised, balanced the 
fearful thoughts it whispered; and she 
listened to it with delight. 

He 



S5C FATAL revenge; OK) 

He advanced from his chair, with a slow 
tut steady motion; he moved to the door; 
there he seemed to encounter some ob- 
ject, whom he addressed in low and pa- 
cifying tones. — '' 'Tis true, my lord, 'tis 
true, you must be satisfied ; — there is rea- 
son for it. — Let me have the keys of the 
north tower. — Filthy knaves, why do you 
bring them smeared with blood, and twist- 
ed v;ith worms ? — Take them hence, and — 
ha ! the doors open of themselves : 'tis a 
good omen, my lord ; — enter first, I 
entreat you ; nay, I would, but these old' 
floors groan so under a man's tread, and 
if I entered first, you might think they 
groaned, because I trod them." 

He went eagerly around the room, touch- 
ing and pointing to different objects: — the 
Countess shrunk from every spot he ap- 
proached. *'See, my lord, see, — all is jiafe. 
Men will die — and they must be buried- — 
and there will be a death-like steam, and a 

mist — 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 357 

mist — a mistj my lori but these things 
can be removed, and who will guess them 
then ? Ha !" smiting with fury at the w^all, 
" villains! villains! w^ho has rent open 
this wall ? Who points down that stair ? 
Go not thither, Pallerini ; nothing, no- 
thing but a lumbering skeleton. Some 
dry, decayed bones, a sorry sight of mor- 
tality. It can tell nothing. Who has 
heard the dead speak? Ask it not to 
write, it hath not the means. See, I will 
touch it ; 'tis a fearful sight, but a harm- 
less one. Now, were I the murderer, the 
blood would gush from the holes of its 
skull: — ha! what is that! who raised its 
fleshless and clattering arm to smite me 
on my mouth ? — again ! — again ! away — 
away, where the dead move is no place 
for us. But you heard yourselves, he did 
not say I did it."^ — He paused; he waved 
his arm with a slow, commanding air. 
'' Prepare the feast — the wine — the music; 

but look there be no knives like dag- 
.5 gers 



358 FATAL REVENGE ; OR^ 

gers on the table; and let not the 
attendants wear those murderers' looks. 
Ho there^ let us be merry !" 

He sunk into his chair, and spread out 
his arms. *' Give me some wine.— Ha ! 
who is this ? Ascanio ! — Get thee hence, 
with that grim, sorry face. Ascanio, I 
have wished to see thee long, but this is 
no time, no place — avaunt ! why dost 
thou stand grinning at me ? — I tell thee 
this is no time. Noble Pallerini, I pledge 
you." 

He writhed his mouth. " Ha ! damned 
potion — what is this ! Erminia's — blood ! 
^—Villains ! why am I served thus ! — and 
this! What's this before me ! — a bloody 
dagger ! Why do you all stare distractedly } 
Wherefore do you laugh, Pallerini } Ha ! 
bold, the taper's here. Blasting light- 
nings ! 'tis Orazio, — Erminia, — Verdoni, 
away — break up the feast, the dead are 
among us. The lights are sulphur ; the 
music i§ a howl ; — away — away ; — who 

nails 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 359 

nails me to my chair ? — The floor sinks 
under me! — down — down — down. Let 
me grasp at the air — will nothing hold 
me? — Sinking for ages — lower — lower — - 
lower. My breath — my sense — -my sight 
are gone ! — Oh ! — Oh!" 

He staggered — he shrieked — he awoke. 
The Countess hastened to hold him. 
" Hush, hush, Montorio ; all is well. 
You are alive — you are awake — you are 
in my arms.'' He shook and tottered in 
her grasp. His eyes were fixed on her; 
but he saw her not. Her voice was mixed 
with the voices of his sleep. Again she 
spake, again she soothed him in low, and 
cautious whispers. '' Am I alive } — am I 
safe } — am I only a muraerer still ! Thank 
heaven 1 my hour is not yet come — my 
hour of flames and agony." '' Hush, 
tush, Montorio ; be yourself again. Are 
you unmanned by the fears that visit the 
infant's sleep — by the fantasy of a dream ?" 
** And are you without fear or distraction? 
2 do 



B60 FATAL revenge; or, 

do you sleep all the long night ? Have 
you no dark dreams, such as visit not an 
infant's sleep ?'' '' Often ; but I deride 
tlieniy and myself. Often is my sleep 
broken with horrid starts of fear. Often 
do I see^ through my curtains, forms 
with fixed eyes, and forms with none, that 
glare on me, in their emptiness. Often I 
hear, around my bed, those low, doubtful, 
moving sounds, which the ear can neither 
discover to proceed from itself, nor 
from outward objects. Then I shake my 
curtains, or trim the night-lamp, or mock 
the terrors that come too late for preven- 
tion, and too trfling for remorse.'' '' Speak 
no more," said Montorio. " Words of 
comfort from the mouth of guilt, are 
like the prayers of the wizard, inverted as 
they are uttered. I would not live thii 
life of horrors, but in the hope to com- 
pound for their mitigation in another."— 



They 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 361' 

They sat in silence till near the morn- 
ing. A light doze, which had fallen on 
them as they sat, was broken, by the open- 
ing of the secret door. Again the monk 
stood before them. They looked upon 
him, with that helpless stupefaction with 
which we view one who has the secret of 
our ruin, but over w^hom we have no in- 
fluence to secure its concealment. '' I 
have been far distant since," said he. " I 
have learned much. I would confer with 
you.* 

The Countess stared with reluctant 
amaze; but the confessor heeded her not. 
He prepared to speak ; the Count pointed 
to a seat. "No rest for me; I would 
speak, and ye must hear.'' " Speak, then, 
but speak low^; the attendants are in 
the antichamber,*' said the Countess, *"' and 
withdraw yoi,!r cowl from your face, holy 
father, for my senses are dull and spent, 
with last night's struggles, and 1 scarce 
can hear you." " Wherefore that re- 

voL. I. R quest ?'* 



S63 TATAL revenge; or, 

quest ?'* said the monk, " none have ever 
seen my cowl withdrawn, none ever must, 

till." 

He paused. The Count and Countess 
tent forward with concealed faces, and 
fixed ears. The monk began his commu- 
nications in a low tone, accompanied by 
violent gesture, and interrupted only by 
looks of silent ghastliness, which JVJontorio 
and his wife exchanged at different periods 
«f it. The communication lasted till the 
watch-lights burnt dull and dim in the 
blue light that streamed through the cur- 
tains. The confessor rose from the chair, 
over which he had bent to whisper. " For 
this,'* said he, folding his dark drapery, 
*' your preparation must be instant." '' Fear 
us not; our demeanour shall evince no- 
thing but ease and tranquillity." '^ Pardon 
me, lady, I never doubted your power of 
assuming what form or language you 
needed, but," said the monk, with un- 
heeded irony, '^ I speak of another 

preparation. 



THE FAMILY »F MONTORIO. 363 

preparation. I speak of a place, hard to 
secure, and hard to conceal : of a place 
w^here the search of Pallerini might be 
directed, and where that search might dis- 
cover a dumb, but fearful witness of our 
secret. Know you of such a place in 
this castle, lady?" '' He speaks of the 
north tower, of the burial-hole, on t\iQ 
secret stair." ^' Why, why particularize 
it, with such hideous minuteness? Yes 
1 know it well, holy father; we must an- 
ticipate all search there ; that body must 
be removed." '' When, and how^, and 
by whom?" said the monk, in a hollow 
tone. '' This following night," said the 
Countess. " And by you," added Mon- 
torio. " By me ?" " Aye, by you. 
Contend not with me, I am a man of wrung 
and harassed soul. I will not visit those 
apartments." The few remaining points 
were adjusted in whispers. The monk 
retired. The Count summoned his atten- 
dants, and the castle was soon employed 
R 2 in 



364: FATAL REVENGE j OR^ 

in glad and busy preparation for the 
arrival of the visitor 



A day and a night passed in festivity. 
'^ I may expect then to meet you in your 
apartment, at midnight. Count?" "I shall 
attend you, Duke." But on that night, 
while the family were assembled in the 
hall, the confessor entered, and whispered 
the Count, who, startled and agitated, 
rose, and committing the entertainment 
to the Countess, retired. " You will 
not forget your engagement, Count?" 
said the Duke, as Montorio past him, with 
a solemnity so brief, it scarce seemed to 
borrow a moment from the levity of his 
mirth. '' I go io prepare for it," was 
the answer. Montorio and the monk 
retired. 

The Countess, who felt the necessary 
claim on her exertions, redoubled them ; 

though 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 365 

though she would have almost exchanged 
her chair of state for a rack^ to have learn- 
ed the cause of the Count's absence. 
Midnight arrived; artificial levity could 
exist no longer. The Countess almost 
talked to herself; and the Duke appeared 
perplexed and suspicious, when one of 
the attendants acquainted him that the 
Count was in his apartment! This was 
the signal of their meeting. The family- 
separated; the Duke retired to his own 
chamber, which, when he conceived the 
castle was at rest, he quitted for Mon- 
torio's. 

The Count and Countess were alone. 
The Duke entered, with two attendants, 
in silence. The faces, the persons, the 
manners of the meeting, had undergone 
a sudden and total change. There were 
no compliments, no gaiety, no polished 
festivity; the countenances of the group 
were only marked by different shades of 
suspicious or sullen gloom, as they be- 
tokened 



36 6 FATAL BEVENGE ; OK, 

tokened the varied characters of the 
inquisitors and the criminals. The Duke 
advanced. '' Is it necessary/* said the 
County pointing to the attendants, '*is itne- 
cessary that your lacqueys should witness 
this extraordinary procedure ?" " I trusty," 
said the Duke, *'you will regard the cir- 
cumstance I am about to acquaint you with, 
as an additional proof of the consideration 
ioY you which is mingled through the whole 
procedure. These persons are the officers 
of justice^ disguised as my attendants, and 
appointed to register the minutes of the ex- 
amination, I am commissioned to institute; 
others are dispersed through your castle, 
in the same disguise, ready to execute any 
orders, which the event of the examination 
may render it expedient for me to issue. 
Under these circumstances. Count, you 
will observe opposition to be perfectly 
ineffectual, and I trust you commend 
the delicacy which suggested the expe- 
dient." *' Proeeed to your commission,'* 
5 reph'ed 



THE FA^riLY OF MONTORIO. 367 

replied the Count. '' Will not the Coun- 
tess retire?" said the Duke, '' this is no 
place for female presence, nor will the 
terms and objects of our conference be 
pleasing to her. " '' The place where the 
honour of my family is discussed, is the 
fittest for the mistress of it/' replied the 
Countess. 

The secretaries seated themselves at a 
low table, in a remote part of the room. 
The Count removed the lights near which 
he sat, and the rustling of papers was all 
that interrupted a long and general pause. 
" You had a brother, Count/' '' I had." 
*' He was married, and had children.'' 
The Count bowed. " How Ions is it 
since that sad and obscure end befel him?" 
" Twenty years." " And during that 
long period, has no inquiry been made? 
no solicitude excited for the fate of a 
brother?" '' Pardon me, there needed no 
inquiry. I was well informed of its mode 
and circumstance.'* *' And yet under- 
took 



3G8 PATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

took no measure for the punishment of 
the murderer." " The murderer had pu- 
nished himself; my brother fell by his 
own hand." 

" How ! this is contrary both to com- 
mon report, and to the documents now in 
my possession.' — '' My brother died by 
his own hand, in a fit of despair, on the 
intelligence of his wife's death.'' — " Her 
death then preceded his; was it also a 
death of suicide ?" — ^"No: she was preg- 
nant ; the terrors of the last eruption, 
which w^as twenty years ago, brought on 
a premature labour; she and her child 
perished." — ''This can of course, be easily 
substantiated, a woman of her rank was 
certainly, suitably attended?" — " Her dan- 
ger was too brief and mortal; she was 
only attended by the nurse of her chil- 
dren." — " Is she alive ?"—*' No ; she did 
not long survive her mistress." *' A strange 
fatality attended all the agents in this af- 
fair; the storm of that night had many 
2 victims. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 369 

victims. Count. But you mentioned child- 
ren, how did they disappear?" — ''They 
were conveyed that night to their nurse's 
sister. Jest they should disturb the Count- 
ess; they died of complaints incidental 
to infancy." — ''How considerate tore- 
move them from the castle on that night 1 
Doubtless their mother enjoyed repose 
soon after their absence ; but, may I in- 
quire, is the woman with whom they died, 
still living?" — "She is," interrupted the 
Countess, *' she is now living in the Ab- 
ruzzo; her name is Teresa Zanetti." — " The 
air of the Abruzzo is favourable to weak, 
infantine complaints ?*' — "We have rea- 
son to say so/' observed the Countess ; 
" our eldest sons, Ippolito and Annibal 
were nursed by that woman, and in that 
cottage, and they are strong and healthy 
young men." — " To return to the Count 
Orazio," said the duke, " 1 have heard 
he perished in Greece ; was the suicide 
committed there, and by whom, if com- 
R 5 mitted 



370 FATAL revenge; or^ 

mitted, was it witnessed?" — "A confi- 
dential servant was intrusted with the in- 
telligence, but my brother started into 
madness on hearing it, and dashed him- 
self from a rock, under which he was re- 
posing on his return from a fishing party." 
^' And of his numerous attendants, (for 
a nobleman would scarce undertake a jour- 
ney into Greece alone, ) were there none 
that could prevent this catastrophe?"— 
" He went alone, for he was fond of so- 
litary recreation ; Ascanio met him alone, 
and the efforts of madness which often 
defy numbers, were not to be resisted by 
a single arm.*' — '' Of course, you soothed 
your grief for this melancholy event, by 
a public and magnificent memorial, your 
brother s remains were brought over, and 
his funeral solemnized by the family." — 
'^ Ascanio who knew what I would have 
suffered from the shocking intelligence 
thaltthe body was so torn and scattered 

as 



I 



THF FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 371 

as to be unfit for interment, ordered a 
funeral, and pretended to bury the re- 
mains : I have since heard they were so 
mangled, that was impossible." — '' Did 
no one but the trusty Ascanio, see those 
remains?'' — " I was not concerned in the 
inquiring how many savage fishermen 
gazed on a carcase/* — " You appear then: 
by your own confession/* said the Duke,, 
while the secretaries pens went fast, " to 
be ignorant whether your brother perished 
or not ; since to prove it, you have only 
the bare report of a solitary menial, who 
had neither witness nor evidence for his 
report, and who was capable of deceiving 
you in the most material part of the event 
itself May I ask w^hether even this Asca- 
nio is yet alive?'* — '' He has been dead 
some years/' — '' Did he die in your ser- 
vice ?'*- — '' No, he died abroad, in whose 
service I know not/' — '' Strange,, the dis- 
mission of a servant so useful, so confi- 
dential, so considerate/' — " If you expect 

from 



372 FATAL REVENGE ; OR^ 

from me the memoirs of every servant I 
have dismissed^ I fear your commission 
will prove an unsatisfactory one." 

A long pause followed; the Duke whis^ 
pered with his secretaries. " You declare 
then you are utterly ignorant of this As^ 
canio ; of his motives for leaving your 
service ; or of any events which may have 
befallen him since." — " I declare it.''— 
^' Count/' said the duke, " there are two 
ways of evading the issue of an inquiry, 
by partial answerings of an artful struc- 
ture^ or by a sullen and uniform negative; 
the latter mode is certainly the most safe; 
for subtilty may be ensnared, and guilt is 
apt to detect ; but an universal disavowal 
is the shelter of obstinacy. Yet still I fear 
even this will not avail you; for I have not 
come unfurnished to this great commis- 
sion ; I have documents, Count Montorio; 
documents and proofs so powerful" — ^ 
" That is false," said a voice behind him. 
The inquirer^ the accused, and the at* 

tendants. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 373 

tendants, stared in consternation. Beside 
the chair of the former, the monk was 
discovered standing ; his entrance had 
been observed by none, his face was con- 
cealed, and after speaking, he remained 
so fixed and motionless, that the hearers 
almost doubted if the voice had issued 
from him. '' Who is he, that is among 
us ?" asked the Duke in a tone that spake 
the resolution of fear ; '' speak, whence 
are you, and wherefore do you come?" 
" Whence, and wherefore 1 come," said 
the monk, without moving limb or mus- 
cle, '* it matters not; enough, that I know 
your commission, and your powers to 
the uttermost; you have no proofs — and 
he who has them, will not easily delegate 
them to kings or ministers." — " By what 
right have you intruded yourself into this 
presence?" demanded the Duke, " or 
under what powers do you pretend to 
dispute the exercise of mine. ^'* — "The 

power 



371- FATAL revenge; OHj 

power under which I act/' murmured the 
monk, " may neither be questioned nor 
controlled. The power which has com^ 
missioned me, does not act with the in- 
firmity of earthly movements ; it does not 
seek to supply a deficiency of proofs by 
confidence of assumption, nor make an 
extorted confession a substitute for the 
absence of witnesses ; it does not leave 
me, as your's has left you, to shrink from 
a bold inquiry, and be abased by the up- 
braidings of falsehood; it empowers, as 
this moment, to acquit the Count Mon- 
torio, and to pronounce there is against 
him, neither witness, accuser, nor proof." 
*' This is an excellent expedient, Count," 
said the Duke with indignation, '' and 
your confessor, with the assistance of a 
secret door, plays his part admirably. 
But your next examination, shall be con- 
ducted in a place, secure at least from 
the intrusion of presumptuous ecclesi- 
astics.'' 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 375 

astics." As he spake these words, his 
eyes were directed to the Count ; but 
the expression of unguarded astonishment 
with which the latter viewed his strano-e 
defender, undeceived him at once, pre- 
possessed as he was with the belief of 
some confederacy between them. 

*' Why will you persist to contend with 
your conscience/' pursued the monk; with 
dogmatical asperity, " 1 have told you, vou 
have no proofs; you have none ; they are 
distant, and deep; where, none can reach, 
and such as none can penetrate." — *' You 
admit then that there are proofs," said 
the Duke, with the habitual spirit of 
availing himself of concessions, though 
hopeless of any favourable issue from 
this. — '' Yes, there are proofs/' said the 
monk ; " but they are not for the sight 
of day, or the knowledge of man; there 
are proofs, but name them not; for there 
is a dignity in the supreme of horrors, 
not to be violated by the tongues of com- 
mon 



376 FATAL revenge; ok, 

mon men. For, the weak instrument of 
extrinsic and ineffectual agency^ there is 
also a proof ; a proof sufficient, that ^ow 
have neither 'part nor lot in this matter;' 
that your time is not yet come, and when 
it does, it will summon you to no such 
task; such are only for spirits of high 
elect class. Follow me, and you shall 
behold this proof" 

The Duke looked irresolute; the Count, 
and the attendants remained in mute as- 
tonishment. '' Follow me,'' repeated the 
monk ; " we must be alone.*' — There was 
about this man, a fearlessness, a careless 
and melancholy confidence, above huma- 
nity ; he seemed to walk in a sphere of 
his own, in a cheerless, unsocial exemption 
from pain or fear, or every thing that can 
conciliate compassion or sympathy ; and 
never to glance down on the ways or feel- 
ings of men, but with contempt for infir- 
mity, or indignation for guilt. He pos- 
sessed a commanding solemnity that infus^ 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 377 

ed enough of terror into his injunctions 
to render them irresistible; they who list- 
ened, could not but follow them; and 
they who foliowedj followed with a mix- 
ture of confidence and of fear, almost 
indescribable. 

The Duke arose^ but glanced at his 
sword, as if to intimate he was prepared 
for danger : the wild disdain of the monk's 
smile was lost in dark folds that concealed 
his face. The Duke and he passed slowly 
into another apartment. The emotion 
with which the Count and Countess had 
beheld this scene, and now awaited its 
conclusion, was such as cannot be de- 
scribed. They were restrained from ex- 
pressing it by the presence of the sec e- 
taries, who amazed, and unknowing how 
to proceed, yet continued in the room. 
Of the interference of the monk, the mo- 
tives that prompted it, or the modes which 
he had adopted to render it effectual, 
they were utterly ignorant; that he was 

acquainted 



378 FATAL revenge; ORj 

acquainted with their guilt, to them was 
certain, and it was also certain that he 
appeared determined to exclude every one 
else from its knowledge or its prosecution. 
But in the miserable uncertainty of cul- 
prits, they sometimes thought he was only 
about to make the communication more 
certain and more terrible, by this mode 
of disclosure; and this fear, which their 
looks communicated to each other, as 
distinctly as language, was rendered al- 
most intolerable by the impossibility of 
discussing it freely, or concerting any ex- 
pedient that might delay or mitigate its 
danger; a glance or motion, indicative 
of solicitude, would have degraded that 
port of offended dignity, which they 
thought necessary to support before the 
assistants; but they listened, with dread- 
ful intentness, to the sounds which they 
imagined, issued from time to time, from 
the adjacent room. This state, which they 
deemed of intolerable length, lasted but 

a few 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 379 

a few moments^ for the Duke rushed from 
the apartment, with horror in his face, 
and scarce commanding breath to bid the 
attendants withdraw, made an abrupt and 
indistinct excuse to the Count for his visit 
and its circumstances. Every doubt, he 
faltered out, was removed, every suspi- 
cion dispelled, and nothing now remained, 
but to apologize for the disturbance he 
had caused, and to retire. This was done 
•on the approach of morning, leaving the 
Count and Countess in security, mingled 
with amazement and fear. 



CHAP. 



380 



TATAL revenge; OK, 



CHAP. XV. 



^' I HAVE brought my harp/* said Cyprian, 
*' may 1 touch it ? — Shall I read you 
those lines we found in the grotto of 
Posilippo ? — I have coloured that sketch 
of the Castel Novo you praised, would 
it amuse you to see it ?" — A dead silence 
followed each of these questions. Ippo- 
lito, to whom they were addressed, re- 
mained with clasped hands, and eyes fixed 
on a point, in utter silence. 

'' I am 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 381 

^'I am very wretched/' sighed Cyprian, 
after a pause, which his companion's ab- 
sence made to resemble solitude. '' That is 
false/' said Ippolito, " and when uttered 
he knew it to be so." — '* Alas, what words 
are those," said Cyprian, '' and to whom 
do vou talk with such fearful earnestness 
of look and gesture ?" — '' Did you not 
say I was a murderer?" exclaimed Ippo- 
lito, starting up. — '' Blessed Virgin, be 
calm ! no one is here, no one speaks, but 
me/' — " And is he not here ?'' said Ippo- 
lito, sighing, and gazing vacantly around; 
*' I could have sworn by all the saints, 
I saw him, and he spoke with me but now. 
But he is ever near me ; 'tis strange, Cy- 
prian, but I see him in darkness, I feel 
him in solitude ; he is ever with me.'' — . 
'Ml may be so, dear Ippolito, our sen- 
ses, are weak and deceitful organs; 
mine I believe, are failing too: even 
while I speak, you seem different from 

what 



382 FATAL REVENGfi ,* OR, 

^hat you have seemed to me ; your voice^ 
sounds not like what I have listened to, in 
dear and other hours." He wept and sob- 
bed with uncontrolled emotion. '' It is not 
true/' said Ippolito, who had not heard 
him, *'but let us change the subject. All 
power is limited by place and time ; and 
the change of those may modify that 
power. I only say this, — because — if you 
should hear of my going to Capua to- 
night'* — *' To-night ! to leave Naples to- 
night!" exclaimed Cyprian. — ''Yes/* 
said Ippolito, "to-night, perhaps;'* then 
added, *' if the power that pursues me, 
can control the elements; if the hand 
that is stretched out over me, can indeed 
reach through every part of space; then 
I must be as one who can struggle no 
longer ; I must shrink into its grasp ; and 
be'* — " Oh for mercy, for heaven's love, 
shake me not with these terrible fears ; 
much longer I cannot bear them; what 
would you be, or do? — I will go with 

you ; 



i 



tllE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 383 

you; if you will fly, let me go with 
you/* — "Go with me ! never; so may 
all the visitings of a dark and wayward 
fate^ be on my head, as your's escape it." 
He spoke with solemn tenderness, and laid 
his hand on Cyprian's head. But Cyprian 
felt his throat swell, and his head grow 
giddy ; amid all his sufferings, the thought 
of being deserted by him he loved, had 
never been suggested to him ; and when 
now it was presented to his mind, he felt 
as if he had never been unhappy before. 
An incapacity either to plead or to re- 
monstrate, overcame him ; with dim eyes 
and quivering hands, he attempted to 
follow Ippolito, feebly repeating, " I will 
fly with you; you said you loved me; 
take me with you, I will follow you bare- 
foot and in beggary through the worlds 
Did you not say you loved me ?''— He 
spoke to the walls. Ippolito was gone ,• 
he remained stupified, gasping, and vainly 
trying to awake from what he felt to be 

like 



384 FATAL REVENGE j OR, 

like the spell of a dream. But it was 
soon dissolved ; the clock struck twelve. 
Tfhe thoughts of Montorio*s engagement 
at that mysterious hour rushed on him ; 
he knelt on the ground, and prayed with 
fresh and fervent sorrow for him, for 
whom he began to fear his prayer was 
vain. 



At that hour — the hour of midnight ; 
in a spot of which no one knew the site 
or direction, below the surface of the 
ground, and assembled by signals and 
avenues not to be discovered, were col- 
lected a number of beings whose appear- 
ance seemed to hold terrible alliance with 
the place and circumstance of their meet- 
ing. Of their forms many were distorted 
by tbose fantastic horrors^ that startle the 
-sleeper from his dream, and visit the eyes 
of the fearful when left in solitary dark- 
ness; 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 385 

ness; and many were involved in a gloom 
through which the eye fancied it could 
trace shapes and shadowings of more un- 
imaginable ghastliness, than I'ght could 
reveal. All were silently and intently 
employed, but their gestures and move- 
ments were so different from life, that how 
they were employed, might not easily be 
known. A fitful and unsteady blaze of 
light played on them as they moved ; it 
issued from a human skeleton, which 
stood in a recess of the vault, around 
whose bones a pale blue fire quivered 
without consuming them; and in whose 
eyeless sockets burned a deep and sullen 
fiame. In other cavities of the walls, a 
dim, dull light appeared, supplied by 
tapers, which were held by shrivelledhu- 
man hands, whose deadly yellowness be- 
came more visible in the light they dis- 
persed. That light showed many other 
sights of terror; strange forms and cha- 
voL. I. s racters 



obO FATAL revenge; ORj 

racters were on the walls and roof, over 
whose dark and measureless extent^ th<^ 
€ye sought in vain for a point or limit of 
distance. Some were in motion with a 
horrid resemblance of life; others were 
still, as the grave, from which they ap- 
peared to be but lately torn. At one ex^ 
tremity, if that could be called so, which 
was quite undefined, hung something that 
was intended as a separation between that 
iind an interior vault, but of which the 
eye could not discover whether it was a 
curtain, or a volume of transparent wall^ 
as its ;iiassive shadows appeared like the 
foldings of either. Before it was extended 
something that resembled an altar, on 
which a dark cloud brooding, concealed 
-the deed and implements, through it^ a 
dull and ghastly light was seen, across 
which moved the shadows of things still 
more terrible; and above it was extended 
the body of a man, blue, livid, and re- 
laxed. 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. S87 

laxed, as if but lately dead, but the eyes 
were open, and that glassiness Vnich death 
only can give, lent them a strange light, 
like life; the right hand was raised, and 
the finger on the lips ; and this posture, 
with the glazed fixedness of the eyes, gave 
a speaking and terrible effect to the corse. 
On a sudden was heard a sound which re- 
sembled what might be supposed to be the 
effect of a bell, tolled in the air, and heard 
at a vast distance under ground ; sus- 
pense and doubt were visible in the aspect 
of the assembly, as they listened to it. 
AH employrnent ceased ; they looked du- 
biously on each other, and around them^ 
as the deep tones died avray, awaking 
echoes to a distance, that seemed never 
to have been visited by sound before. 
Their suspense was short — another sound 
succeeded, which was accompanied by the 
rush of a strong blast; the fires flared and 
bickered, as it swept them; their strong 
s "Z and 



388 FATAL revenge; or, 

and sudden glow, making its noisome 
chillncss more felt. In the dead silence 
that followed, nothing but the low hissing 
of the flames was heard ; but the next mo- 
ment, they caught the tread of a human 
foot, descending steps ; it came nearer 
and louder — " He is ours for ever," ex- 
claimed the band, — and Ippolito rushed 
into the vault ! . . . . j 



From his short, uneasy sleep, Cyprian 
had been often roused that night, by sud- 
den noises in the palace ; but they were 
so mixed with those of his sleep, that he 
believed both to be the same, and tried 
to compose himself again : — he was awak- 
ened from that late and heavy slumber, to 
which those who pass restless nights are 
accustomed, by a servant inquiring at 
what hour he preferred dinner, as it was 

la^ar 
s 



I 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 389 

near noon ; with some surprise at the in- 
quiry, he referred it to their master. '' The 
Signor is gone," replied the man, '' and 
we are ordered to take directions from 
you." — '^Gone!" shrieked Cyprian, whi- 
ther ! — when ! — how ! — speak !' — -'^ Whi- 
ther, or how, Signor, none of us know," 
replied the servant ; " he left Naples 
about two hours after midnight, attended 
by only one servant; you might have 
heard the noise of his departure, for we 
were all roused on his return ; and — but 
perhaps, Signor, this letter which he left 
for you, will explain/' — '' 1 heard the 
noise of his departure,'' exclaimed Cypri- 
an, " I heard, and did not feel he was 
going; — wretch, miserable wTetch !" he 
opened the letter eagerly; the contents 
did not contribute to diminish his emo- 
tion. 

" From a persecution, which, though 
hopeless to escape, I am yet unable to 

endure. 



390 FATAL PEVENGE ; OR^ 

endure, I fly, whither I know not, nor does 
it matter; he that dvives me hence, can 
pursue me every where. I am hopeless 
of resistance or escape ; yet I will fiy, 
for r will be no easy prey. I will run 
to m.y chain's full length, and grapple with 
that, and make it a means of respite if 
not release. Some dreadful fate will be- 
f'il me, cut off from the flush and joy of 
life, which never mortal loved as 1 did, 

and dragged to Oh, that it were 

possible to compound for the misery and 
escape the guilt. Oh, that I might be 
a wanderer and a vagabond on the face of 
the earth, and never know habitation, or 
rest, or quiet of domestic dearness, so I 
might shun but that. I know not whi- 
ther I go. I will write to you, but write 
not to me, for I shall probably remain 
in no place longer than a night. Besides,, 
the direction might betray me. Alas! 
what does human device avail against him 
with whom I h?iv€to contend? FareweU, 

beloved 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO, 591 

beloved Cyprian, my madness and misery 
have not left me one tear to shed, one tender 
thought to think of vou. There was a time 
when I would not — but I am hot, and reck- 
less, and insensate; yet oh ! foi your pa- 
tience, your long suffering love, your sub- 
missive and wife-like affeciion and fldelitv. 
what shall I give you back? I am a heart- 
smitten and harassed man I cannot pray; 
I will not bless you, for I am cursed with 



The servant, at the conclusion of the 
letter, informed Cyprian, that by the 
Signer's orders, the establishment was to 
be maintained for him in the same style, 
and his orders were to be absolute in the 
household. Cyprian heard him not. The 
whole of that dreadful day he passed in a 
kind of stupefaction, that did not yet ex- 
clude sensibility of pain. Montorio, his 
name and presence, had always seemed to 
him so necessary to his existence, that 

now 



S92 FATAL REVENGE ; OR, 

now he was, in his absence, scarcely con- 
iscious of life. He wandered from room 
to room, with a face of busy vacancy, that 
sought every where for an object, for 
whose absence it bore an expression of 
helplessness and dismay inconceivable. 

Towards eveninir, in mere bodilv weak- 
ness, he sunk on a sofa, and felt recollec- 
tion return by increasing pain. It grew 
dark, and a servant entering, announced 
that a stranger was proceeding to the 
apartment, without informing any of the 
attendants of his name or intentions. 
Cyprian was alarmed, yet too feeble to 
make any inquiry or preparation, when 
the stranger entered the room, and mo- 
tioned to the servant to withdraw. The 
light v/asdim, but Cyprian, in his striking 
sir, discovered a resemblance to the house 
of Montorio. He advanced. *V I . feel 
th^t-in this house,'' said he, " I ought to 
be secure ; yet, I enter it in doubt and in 
fear/' " In the bouse of Moatorio, Sig- 

nor 



THE FAMILY OF MON'TORIO. 393 

nor cavalier/' said Cyprian^ '' every man 
of honour is secure.' '' I have claims/' 
said the stranger^ hesitating, " which it 
were better perhaps to conceal ; yet the 
tones of your voice bid me trust you. 
This must be Cyprian. I am Annibal di 
Montorio." '*' Annibal !" echoed Cy- 
prian, wild with joy, " Annibal ! Oh, 
fiy, follow him, bring him back ! Or have 
you found him? is he with you? Speak, 
speak, of him !" Annibal started. " Where 
is Ippolito ? I came to him for shelter — 
where is Ippolito?" '^ Oh!" said Cy- 
prian, retreating and sick w^ith fear, " is 
he not with you ? I thought — I hoped you 
had known his movements. You are his 

brother, and when 1 saw you, I oh ! do 

you not know thenw^here he is?" '' You 
amaze me — you alarm me. I knew not 
of his absence. I fled to him, for refuge, 
from danger, and extremity. I am scarce 
safe, in his absence. Yet how shall. I fol- 
low him, when you know not where, he 

is? 



394f FATAL revenge; ok, 

is? Tell me," collecting his habitual 
caution, '' are the present domestics re- 
cently engaged ? and are they natives of 
the city? " I believe they are." *' ^1 hen 
I am safe, for some time at least. Put I 
am worn and overwatched. I have lurked 
in the forest all day, let me h' ve some 
refreshment, and let my own servant 
only, who has escaped with nie, be em-^ 
ployed about us; you shall learn all — all 
I know, and all 1 fear. My brother repos- 
es unlimited confidence in you." Cy- 
prian obeyed him, trembling with unsatis- 
fied solicitude, and expected calamity, 

Refreshments were procured, and An- 
nibal eat his silent meal in secrecy and 
lear, attended by Cyprian, who could 
scarce suppress his inquiries; and by 
Filippo, who could hardly contain his 
communications, from the joy he felt at 
his own and his master's escape, as well as 
triumph in the dexterity he had exerted 
to effect it. , 

Lights 



1 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 395 

Lights had been introduced with the 
^ame caution, and Filippo had departed. 
Annibal rose. He examined the room, 
he secured the doors; he drew a stiletto, 
from his vest, and laid it with his pistols 
on the table. Cyprian beheld his prepa- 
rations with an oppressing sensation of 
fear. Annibal returned; he traversed the 
room, listening to the steps of the do- 
mestics, as they passed through the rooms. 
The echo of the last had ceased — all was 
silence. Midnight arived; Annibal look- 
ed round him with an expression of secu- 
rity, then resuming his seat by Cyprian, 
and pressing his forehead with the air of 
a man who struffsles throus^h weakness 
and weariness, to collect facts, whose 
weight burthens his faculties, said, " My 
brother's value for you justifies the commu- 
nications I am about to make. No pow. r 
but confidence could extort them from 
me. They are wonderful, dark and peril- 
ous; nor do 1 know what danger you 

may 



3j)6 FATAL eevenge; or, 

may incur by becoming a partaker of them. 
But by comparing our mutual information 
on this dark topic^ something may be 
known, which silence would have con- 
cealed. Or/ perhaps, I am only yielding 
to the natural wea];ncss of an oppressed 
mind. * A dark and doubtful way is before 
me. I must tread it alone, without guide, 
and without companion ; and before I 
go I would willingly leave with another, 
what my own tongue may never be per- 
mitted to tell. I would willingly think, 
that my memory may not be lost in ob- 
livion, as miy life will probably be. 1 will, 
therefore, relate the circumstances that 
have, within the last four months, befallen 
Ippolito and me. With the latter, he in- 
formed rae, you were unacquainted; in- 
deed, with both, except those effects 
which it was impossible to conceal." 



Annibal 



THE FAMILY OF MONTORIO. 397 

Annibal had proceeded thus far in his 
narrative, when he observed Cyprian had 
no longer the power of listening, in 
an agony of terror and devotion, he 
fluno: himself on the o^round, and call- 
ed on the saints to forgive and to 
plead for the unhappy wanderer. An- 
nibal joined him with equi^l, though 
calmer devotion, mentally mingling his 
own name in his aspirations. " It is now 
finished/' said Cyprim, as he rose from 
his knees, '' it is all told ? is it not ?'* 
Annibal shook his he?d. " Merciful hea- 
ven — what ! more horrors ! worlds would 
not bribe me to listen to them for ano- 
ther hour;" — "Not more than half an 
hour has elapsed since I began the nar- 
rative,'* said Annibal. '' It has seemed 
to me a term of dreadful length," said 
Cyprian; "yet though I cannot listen to 
more, I can speak of none but him ; let 
us sit all night, and talk where he may 
be fled/'—" Where he has fled," said An- 
2 nibal, 



398 FATAl *REVENGE ; OR, 

llibal, it IS now perhaps impossible to 
know. I had proposed, on my escape 
from the castle, to have come to him> 
and persuaded him to accompany me to 
France ; the martial spirit of Louis the 
fourteenth, and of his government, holds 
out an encouragement to young and 
brave adventurers; and abroad, if the 
hand of heaven be not stretched out over 
us for evil, we might forget our country, 
our name, and those disastrous hauntings 
that seem to be inseparable from them." 
*' And have you then experienced a 
similar persecution ? Have you been dri- 
ven also from your home? This is most 
horrible,'* said Cyprian; "is it a fiend 
that haunts your house?'' — *' It is a fiend," 
said Annibal, gloomily, '' whom no pow- 
'er can chase from his prey ; whom no 
exorcist can subdue; a craving fiend, who 
■will have blood !*' 

He rose, and tossed his arms eagerly, and 
strode across the room. '' Cyprian, horrid 

thoughts 



THE FAMILY OP MONTORIO. 399 

thoughts are besetting me ; yes, I will 
hasten to France : 1 have relatives too, 
there! — my breath is choaked, my heart 
cannot beat here. But I must at least stay 
to-morrow ; to-day I might say, ( ^or see 
the dawn has broke upon our melancholy 
talk,) for 1 can only travel by night. If 
you are not yet weary of these things, 
wild and dark; things that defeat the 
reason, and make even fancy shudder; 
I will tell you a tale of such — I will tell 
you what has befallen me.' — '' Go on,*^ 
said Cyprian, in a voice of hollow 
strength, " I 'can hear any thing now." 
" No, not now,*' said Annibal, shrinking 
from his own proposal ; '* I will now take 
a little rest ; 1 will throw myself on this 
sofa. Lay those pistols near me, Cyprian^ 
and loosen' that dagger in its sheath; 
how you tremble ! stay, I will do it my- 
self" — He ilung himself on the sofa, 
but starting up a moment after, asked 
Cyprian would he not try to sleep." 
1 '^ I am 



iOb FATAL KEVENGE. 

'^ I am too anxious ^oy you, to sleep'' said 
Cyprian; '' let me go into the anti-cham- 
ber, where the slightest noise will reach 
me, and 1 can sooner rouse you." — " This 
is a wretched substitute for sleep, for 
quif tj unsuspicious rest, - to lie down, 
pillowed on daggers, and starting up to 
catch the step of the assassin/' — " I doubt 
nevertheless, my short sleep will be calm 
and deep ; I have a stern tranquillity 
within me, suited to the time." He per- 
mitted Cyprian to go into the outer room, 
locked the door, and composed himself 
again to rest. 

END OF VOL. I. 



ERRATUM. 

T{ige 17, line 16. jor diabolone, read a diavolone. 



C. Slower, Printer, Pat«rno6ter Row.